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The German 
Democratic Republic 


Cover: Berlin city centre 

Back cover: Pedestrian precinct In Karl Marx Stadt 

Auslandspresseagentur GmbH 
Wilhelm-Pieck StraBe 40, Berlin, DDR- 1054 
Redaktion "DDR inn Uberblick" 

Editorial work completed in May 1936 
Translated by Intertext 
Verlag Zeit im Bild 

Julian-Grimau-Allee, Dresden, DDR-8012 
Printed in the German Democratic Republic 
by Grafischer Grossbetrieb Vbfkerfreundschaft Dresden 
Berlin 1986 



25 History 

Progressive traditions ■ Liberation and an antifascist and 
democratic new start The division of Germany - The found- 
ing of the German Democratic Republic ■ On the road 
towards building an advanced socialist society ■ Building 
the advanced socialist society ■ Continuity in implement- 
ing the central policy 

57 The state and its citizens 

Basic rights and duties ■ The legal system ■ Political parties 
and mass organizations - The National Front ■ The people's 
assemblies * The election of deputies to people's assemblies 
■ Churches and other religious communities 

81 Foreign policy 

For international peace ■ Firm alliance with the Soviet Union 
and the other socialist countries ■ For an active policy of 
peaceful coexistence ■ Friendship and cooperation in solid- 
arity with nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America ■ Com 
structive work in the United Nations Organization 


105 The national economy 

The foundations of the socialist economy ■ The main in- 
dicators of the 1986-90 Five-Year Plan ■ How a plan is 
worked out ■ Science and technology ■ Industry ■ Industrial 
combines ■ Socialist competition and the innovators move- 
ment ■ Women in the economy ■ Youth initiatives * A mem- 
ber of the CMEA ■ Foreign trade ■ Agriculture ■ Life in the 
countryside ■ Environmental protection 

153 Social policy 

The housing problem: focus of social policies Jobs for 
everyone ■ Promotion of families and working women ■ In- 
creasing income-greater purchasing power ■ A sense of be- 
longing in old age 

177 Education 

Pre-school education ■ The ten-year general polytechnicai 
school ■ Teacher training ■ School-parents-youth organiza- 
tion ■ Vocational training ■ Advanced level education ■ Inter- 
est groups and leisure time activities ■ Universities, colleges 
and technical schools ■ Adult education 

201 Culture 

Houses of culture, clubs and amateur cultural activities ■ 
Young people and culture ■ The arts - Literature > Theatre 
Music Light entertainment ■ The visual and applied arts ■ 
Films ■ Cultural heritage ■ Monuments and memorials - Mu- 
seums ■ International cultural exchanges 

225 Health services 

Social security ■ Health care ■ Medical and social care ■ In- 
dustrial health - Care for mothers and children ■ Aid for the 
handicapped ■ Medical research and training 


237 Holidays, leisure time and recreation 

Holidays * Holidays for schoolchildren and young people ■ 
Youth travel ■ Outdoor activities and leisure time 

243 Sport 

The German Sports and Gymnastics Union of the GDR 
(DTSB) ■ Other GDR sports organizations and bodies ■ Sport 
for everybody-rnain concern of the D7SB of the GDR 
Sport for the young ■ Dedicated to the Olympic ideal 

278 Berlin-capital of the GDR 

293 The counties of the GDR 

The development of the productive forces and 
socialist relations of production have enabled our 
people to attain a standard of living without pre- 
cedent in their history. Unemployment is a con- 
cept from a different, alien world. Material com- 
fort, a sense of security, full employment and 
equal educational opportunities for all children 
are a matter of course. For us, the highest priority 
is to preserve peace and, hence, assure our fu- 
ture existence. 

Erich Honecker 

Erich Honecker, 

General Secretary of the SED Central Committee and 
Chairman of the GDR Council of State. 

The Baltic coast, the centre of GDR shipbuilding and a popular holi 
day and recreation area, 

The island of Rugen (above) presents a charming landscape to resi 
dents and visitors alike. 

Holidaying on the Baltic 

Harvesting in Neubrandenburg county 

The 19th century Schwerin castle is a focus of culture In the county 

New buildings in the old style in Rostock 

111 !® 



The Spreewald, a meadowland area unique in the GDR, Is covered 
with numerous rivulets. 

The county town of Potsdam (above and right). The Sorbs, the GDR's 
only nation a minority, enjoy equal rights, (left) 



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The semiconductor works in Frankfurt (Oder), a leader in microeiec 

Relaxation in one of Leipzig's parks 

Picturesque Bautzen, over a thousand years old r is also well known 
for the manufacture of rolling stock. 

Typical mining area in the counties of Cottbus and Leipzig 


Saxon Switzerland (abovej. Porcelain painter in Meissen (left). Metal 
working combine in Erfurt, (right) 

The Zwinger in Dresden 
old splendour. 

now completely restored 

has regained its 

Private garden scene. 

Student disco. 

Concerts in the courtyard of Berlin's Museum of German History pro 
vide a platform for young performers too to display their talents 

Ulf Tim merman n, world record shot putter 

Students at the Franz Liszt Music College in Weimar. 


Progressive traditions 

German history has known progressive and reactionary develop- 
ments. It is a history of successes and defeats for the forces of 
progress. Often the defeats suffered by German revolutionaries in 
their struggle for a humanist German state, for freedom, democ- 
racy and socialism have had tragic consequences for Europe and 
the worfd at large. 

The German Democratic Republic has dissociated Itself from 
everything reactionary once and for a If and upholds all progres- 
sive traditions, it acknowledges both the progressive and the 
darker chapters of German history and appreciates all its progres- 
sive achievements. It acts in the awareness that the revolutionary 
peasantry, the progressive bourgeoisie, the German working- 
class movement, above all the League of Communists followed by 
revolutionary Social Democrats and the Communist Party, have, 
through their struggle for social progress, essentially contributed 
to preparing the triumph of socialism on German soil. The GDR 
commemorates the deeds and victims of the struggle for freedom 
waged over the centuries, since the dawn of German history. 
These are the traditions the GDR upholds. 

26 History 

History 27 

The emergence 

of the first German state 

Effects of the 
French Revolution 

For a democratic 
Germany iv 

The early roots of progressive The Reformation and the Peasant 
traditions stretch back to the time , War {1517-1526) were particu- 
when German tribes, which were : fairly 'important events with regard 
the ancestors of the German pee- to spurring progressive thinking, 
pfe, successfully opposed total With his reformatory ideas Mar- 
subjugation to the Roman empire tin Luther inveighed against the 
and thus contributed to the de Roman Catholic Church, 
dine of sfave-owner society. In . His translation of the Bibie was 
the Middle Ages, repeated peas- of crucial importance for the env 
ant revolts and the struggle of the ergenee of modern standard Gen 
citizenry for the independence of man. in the German Peasant War 

the cities from aristocratic rule from 1524-1526 the popular 

paved the way of social progress masses under their leader Tho 
Representatives of the feudal • , mas Muntzer tried, for the first 

class also helped push forward time in history, to change society 
historical progress. King Henry I by means of revolution. The 
919-936 created the first German Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) 
state which accelerated the pro* was a severe setback in Ger- 
cess of the various tribes growing many's development. As a result 
together to become one German ; the country's continued fragmem 
people. The names of Walther tation, into numerous principalities 
von der Vogelweide (fig.) and was assured. The Kingdom of 

Wolfram von Eschen bach (both Prussia developed into a state of 

around 1200) are associated with its; own excelling in economic 

the period when German iitera* strength and military power. 

The French bourgeois revolution Together with capitalist industry 
(1789-1795) shook the feudal sys- there emerged the working class, 
tem in Germany as well. In Mainz Karl Marx and .Frederick Engels 
•the first bourgeois-democratic (fig. p. 28) firmly sided with the 

state on German soil was new emergent class which arti- 

founded in 1793, cufated its demands for the first 

The wars waged by Napoleon I • time in Germany during' the Sile- 
brought national oppression sian weavers' revolt of 1844. 

which most severely impeded Marx and Engels made science a 
progressive developments, the fierahon struggle 

Through rural, administrative and of that class. They founded the 
military reforms and measures to theory of scientific communism, a 
promote the sciences Baron von theory to change the world, and 

Stein, Gerhard von Scharnhorst established the first political party 

|§g.), Neithardt von Gneisenau, of the proletariat, the League of 
Alexander and Wilhelm von Hum* Communists Upon commission 
boldt opened up the way for a of The League, Marx and Engels 
progressive development of Prus wrote the Communist Manifesto 
sian society. The liberation war of in 1847/48. Originally the pro 
1813 abolished foreign rule' The gramme of a small group of revo- 

spiritual achievements of the new lutionaries, it was to become the 

era included the great works by guideline for millions of exploited 

Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, : and oppressed people all over 
Hegel, Mozart and Beethoven the world. 

In the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution of 1848-49 the people 
•, • :■ rose to shake' off the reactionary 
rule of the nobility and to over- 

come Germany's fragmentation 
into countless feudal states 
The most consistent demands 
came from the League of Com- 
munists. Although the revolution 
was betrayed by the bourgeoisie 
and crushed by counter-revolu- 
tionary armies, it brought about 
the final decline of the feudal sys- 
tem and the development of capi- 
talism in Germany, 

Assisted by Marx and Engels, 
in the late 1860s August Bebei 
a n d W i I h e f m Li eb k n ec h t q reate d 
the first proletarian mass party on 
the theoretical basis of Marxism. 
The Eisenach party (named after 
the piace of its foundation) united 
with the General German Work- 
ers' Association founded by Ferdi- 
nand Lassalle to form the Social- 
ist Workers' Party of Germany. 
Prohibition of the party and 
persecution of its members under 
the Anti -Socialist Law (1878-1890) 
could not halt the advance of the 
revolutionary German Social 

After negotiations between the 
.Prussian Chancellor, Otto von Bis- 
marck, and the rulers of the 
south German principalities the 

German Reich was created in 
1871. This meant the birth of the 
bourgeois German national state. 
The process of the formation of 
the bourgeois German nation had 
come to an end. The establish- 
ment of the Reich ended territo- 
rial fragmentation and hence 
created more favourable condi- 
tions for capitalist development 
and proletarian struggle. How- 
ever, the new state retained the 
rule of Prussian militarism and 
the reactionary junkers because it 
was not born out of a democratic 
revolution but a "revolution from 
above" under Prussia's leader- 

The struggle against the war 

and the outbreak of the November Revolution 

The German Reich saw a rapid well. In the November Revolution 

development of capitalism, The of 1918 workers, peasants and 

ruling classes in Germany wanted soldiers brought about the down- 
the world to be "redistributed" to fall of the monarchy and secured 
their advantage; They bear the important democratic rights. Re- 
main responsibility for the First cause of the treasonable attitude 

World War (1914-1918). Millions of the right-wing leaders of the 
of people were misled by the lie German Social Democrats it was 
that the Germans had to defend not possible, though, to eliminate 
themselves against a "world of the rule of the monopoly capital- 
enemies". ists, big landowners and reaction- 

The Left in the German work- ary military officers. "The Kaiser 
ing-class movement, however, left, but the generals stayed 

continued their struggle. Karl were the words that correctly de- 

Liebknecht's brave words, "the scribed the situation in the bour- 

main enemy is inside the coun- geois Weimar Republic which 

tr)", were to become their motto. was founded in 1919. 

Despite' terror and persecution, During the November Revolu- 

unswerving revolutionaries ex- tion the Communist Party of Ger- 
plained to the working class the many (KPD) was founded. The 
imperialist nature of the war and murder of its leaders, Karl Lieb- 
made preparations to end that knecht and Rosa Luxemburg, in 

war by a popular revolution. January 1919 was a severe loss to 

The Great October Socialist Re- the young party. Under the iead- 
volutton In Russia in 1917, which ership of Ernst Jhalmann the KPD 

ushered in a new epoch in the developed into a strong party 

history of mankind, had strong with deep roots among the peo- 

30 History 

Nazism and the Second World War 

At a very early stage the KPD 
warned of. the looming' danger of 
fascism. It worked for a united 
front of the working class and 
joint efforts of ail antifascist for- 
ces^ In 1932 the KPD invited So- 
cial Democrats, trade unionists, 
Christians and democratically-- 
minded -.members- of the middle 
classes to join, in the Antifascist 
Action in order to prevent the na- 
zis from taking over the reigns of 
government- Some right-wing ■ 
leaders of the Social Democratic 
Party and the trade union organi- 
zations, however, rejected alt of- 
fers by the KPD. The, bourgeois 
parties, losing increasing num- 
bers of voters to the nazi party/ / 
gave way to the fascists. In fate 
1932 influential industrialists, 
bankers and landowners invited 
President Paul von Hindenburg to 
appoint the leader of the nazi 
party, Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of ; 
the Reich. This happened in Janu- 
ary 1933. Government was now 
in the hands of the nazi party 

whose programme best met the 
interests of the most reactionary 
quarters of German monopoly 
capital, the big landowners and 
military leaders. The nazi dictator' 
ship unleashed an unprecedented 
reign of terror against commun- 
ists and other antifascists. Its 
domestic goal was to smash the 
revolutionary German working- 
class movement, its foreign pol- 
icy goal was to establish the 
world domination of German im- 
perialism and, first and foremost 
to Wipe the Soviet Union off the 
face of the earth. This was ac- 
companied by the brutal persecu- 
tion of the Jewish population. 

The nazis resorted to anticom- 
munist, a nth Soviet and anti-Semi- 
tic defamations and cleverly 
thought-out social demagogy to 
camouflage their war prepara- 
tions . Millions of Germans fell 
victim to nazi propaganda. Never- 
theless, antifascists* with the com- 
munists at their head, members 
of the Social Democratic Party, 

• •• 

History 31 

bourgeois democrats, intellectuals 
arid clergy people continued the 
struggle under unbelievably hard 
conditions and constant persecu- 
tion. They worked underground, 
from prisons, in concentration 
camps and in exile for the unity 
of all antifascist forces to over- 
throw Hitler's regime. They com- 
bined their antifascist resistance 
•struggle with the elaboration of / 
concepts for creating a demo- 
cratic and peace-loving German 
State after the defeat of fas-.- i 

On 1 September 1939 nSzi Gdr- 

: . • and s aerified - most, turned the 
tide and opened the way for vic- 
tory over the fascist aggres- 
sors, . ' 

In July 1943 the National Com- 
mittee Tree Germany' was 
founded in the Soviet Union on 
the initiative of the KPD. Its mem- 
bers were communists, social 

many invaded Poland and un- man people fell victim to the fas- 

leashed the Second World War, • cist terror, among them Ernst 
Considerable initial successes Thalmann (fig.)-, John Schehr, An- 

were possible because German ton Saefkow, Theodor Neubauer 
imperialism had been making in- and many other communists, so- 
tensive preparations for its war of. ctaf democrats such as Rudolf 
aggression for a long time. On Breitscheid and Wilhelm Leusch- 

22 June 1941 the fascist armies in- ner, patriotically-minded officers 

vaded the Soviet Union, in the like Harro Schulze-Boysen and 

Poland Viiflrtdawis Pnimt Schenk wnn 

USSR, Poland, Yugoslavia, Count Schenk von Stauffenberg, 

France, Greece and other coun- Christians like Dean Bernhard 
tries millions of people fell victim Uchtenberg arid theology profes 

to the fascist regime of exploita- sor D 
tion and extermination the st 

However, the nations fighting made 

for their freedom and indepen- ■ the h< 
dence proved to be stronger. By pie. 
the end of 1941 an anti-Hitler 
coalition of peoples and states 
was formed to oppose fascist ag- 
gression. Its principal farce was 
the Soviet Union. About two ■ 
thirds of all fascist divisions were 
concentrated on the Soviet-Ger- 
man front. Here the battles, were • 
fought which were to have a de- H ; 
cisive impact on the outcome of 
the war. The heroic struggle- of: 
the Soviet army and the people 
of the Soviet Union, who had to 

sor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. it was 
the struggle of and the sacrifice 
made by antifascists that saved 
the honour of the German poo- 



Liberation and an antifascist 
and democratic new start 

On 8 May 1945 the representatives of the Nazi Wehrmacht High 
Command signed the unconditional surrender in Karlshorst, a 
suburb of Beriin. Through their liberation the German people 
were given the opportunity to build an antifascist and democratic 

In accordance with allied agreements, four zones of occupation 
were created in Germany - Soviet, American, British and French. 
An Allied Control Council was constituted from the supreme cgitv 
manders of the four occupation powers' armed forces and based 
in Berlin. The Council was to coordinate the activities of the four 
powers. The supreme commanders held authority in their respec^ 
tive zone of occupation. 

As early as June 1945, the Soviet Military Administration in Ger- 
many (SMAD) authorized the formation of antifascist and demo- 
cratic parties and mass organizations. The Communist Party of 
Germany addressed a manifesto to the German people on 11 June 
1945 in order to lead the country out of its plight. It called for unity 
of the working class, joint efforts by all democratic forces and for 
the complete elimination of fascism and militarism. The KPD 
linked its actions to overcome misery and normalize social life 
with efforts for a new beginning along antifascist and democratic 
lines. Progressive elements in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) 
had learned from the experience of fascism and war that unity of 
the working class was imperative for a democratic transformation 
to take place in Germany. Far-reaching agreement on fundamen- 
tal goals and objectives enabled close cooperation between the 
KPD and the SPD. 

Members of the upper and lower middle classes, including 
committed Christians, began to organize themselves in political 
parties, in late June 1945 the Christian Democratic Union of Ger- 
many (CDU) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD} 
were founded In Berlin, In their founding charters the two parties 

History 33 

laid their antifascist objectives and endorsed united action by all 
antifascist and democratic parties. 

On 14 July 1945 the KPD, SPD, CDU and LDPD formed a bloc of 
antifascist and democratic parties (known as the Democratic Bloc 
since 1949) to unite efforts in the struggle for a peace-loving, anti- 
fascist and democratic Germany. 

Apart from political parties, the first mass organizations were 
formed; the Confederation of Free German Trade Unions (FDGB), 
the League of Culture uniting cultural workers and i ntellectuais de- 
dicated to a democratic renewal of Germany as well as youth and 
women's committees. 

The Potsdam Agreement □ From 17 July to 2 August 1945, the 
heads of government of the victorious allied powers, the Soviet 
Union, the United States and Great Britain, met in Potsdam for ne- 
gotiations on the future of Germany. Their decisions, to which 
France later subscribed, were aimed at preserving German unity 
and completely uprooting German fascism. For this purpose, the 
property and power relations as well as the social, political, econ- 
omic and cultural life of the German people were to be profoundly 
transformed and antifascist and democratic conditions to be 
created in the whole of Germany. Reparations were imposed on 
the German people as partial compensation for the damage 
wrought by the fascists. In the interest of safeguarding peace, the 
Potsdam Agreement contained stipulations on the future German- 
Polish border along the Oder and Neisse rivers. 

Establishment of new state authorities. As early as summer 
1945 new administrative bodies were formed. Antifascists purged 
the economy and the civil service of fascist war criminals. The key 
positions in the new organs of power were occupied by proven 
antifascists representing all political parties. A reform of the legal 
system was undertaken and a police force set up that served the 
interests of the working people. 

Democratic land reform. Within a remarkably short span of 
time a democratic land reform was carried through (from autumn 
1945 to 1946}. For this task land reform commissions were esta- 

Potsdam Conference of the leaders of the three Allied powers-the Soviet 
Union, Britain and the United States-from 17 July to 2 August 1945 in 
Schloss Cecilienhof. (Centre rear Joseph Stalin, right Harry Truman, left 
Clement Attlee) 

blished, numbering more than 52,000 peasants, agricultural and 
industrial workers among their members. Large estates of over 
100 hectares (250 acres) and land belonging to nazi activists and 
war criminals were expropriated without compensation. In this 
way more than 3.3 million hectares of land became available for 
redistribution. A total of more than 550,000 farmhands, resettlers 
from the former eastern territories of Germany, industrial and of- 
fice workers, craftsmen and smallholders received new land and 
1 .1 million hectares remained public property and were allotted to 
state farms, state forestry enterprises and research institutions. 
The rural population created its own democratic mass organiza- 
tion, the Mutual Farmers' Aid Association. 

School reform. In autumn 1945, a school reform was carried 
through in order to create a single state school system affording all 
children the same right to education. 40,000 young workers, farnv 


ers and other working people were approached for retraining. 
Within a short space of time they were trained and started working 
as "new teachers". Former protagonists of the fascist ideology 
were dismissed from schools, colleges and universities. Manage- 
ment, the faculties, syllabuses and the student population itself 
were reorganized along democratic lines. Particular efforts were 
made to assist more children from workers' and farmers' families 
to gain admission to higher education. The centuries-old privilege 
of the property-owning class to education was broken, 

A new start in the field of culture was made by purging the 
press, radio, film and publishing industries, theatres, and mu- 
seums of fascist and racist Ideologies and passing them over into 
public ownership. Works of the national cultural heritage were 
made accessible to the people again or were published for the first 
time free of falsifications (works by Lessing, Goethe, Schiiler, 
Heine). Antifascist writers like Johannes R. Becher, Bertolt Brecht, 
Willi Bredel, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers and 

Plebiscite in Saxony on 30 June 1946 on the bill to expropriate war and Nazi 



Erich Weinert made valuable contributions to educating many 
people in a spirit of democracy. 

The League of Culture which was founded by progressive intel- 
lectuals in 1946 grew into a nationwide cultural organization. 

Foundation of the SED. While the progressive forces suffered 
their first setbacks in the struggle for the unity of the working class 
in the western zones of occupation, workers in the Soviet zone of 
occupation pressed increasingly for the amalgamation of the KPD 
and the SPD into one united revolutionary party. 

United actions to establish new bodies of state authority, to 
implement the land reform and to reform the education system 
produced growing mutual trust. More and more members of the 
Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party recognized the 
strength of unity. 

The two parties decided to establish one united party. Its objec- 
tives and the nature of the unity party were stipulated in a docu- 
ment entitled "The purposes and principles of the Socialist Unity 
Party of Germany" and in the party's constitution. 

On 21 and 22 April 1946, 548 Social Democratic and 507 Com- 
munist delegates met in Berlin and unanimously decided to unite 
the two parties and form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. The 
congress elected Wilhelm Pieckof the KPD and Otto Grotewohl of 
the SPD as chairmen of the party and vested them with equal 

Creation of a public industrial sector. Following a plebiscite in 
Saxony on 30 June 1946, in the Soviet zone of occupation a total of 
9,281 enterprises, including 4, 000 industrial establishments owned 
by nazi activists and war criminals, were confiscated without 
compensation. They included all large enterprises and former 
arms factories throughout the Soviet zone of occupation. The ex- 
propriated enterprises were passed over into public ownership 
which was to become the basis of the economic power of the 
working class. 

The parties which were politically allied with the SED under- 
went important progressive developments. In 1948 another two 

History 37 

parties with mass influence were founded, the Democratic Farm- 
ers' Party of Germany (DBD) and the National Democratic Party of 
Germany (NDPD). They, as well as the Confederation of Free Ger- 
man Trade Unions (FDGB), the Free German Youth organization 
(FDj) and the Women's Democratic Federation of Germany (DFD), 
were admitted as members of the Democratic Bloc. 

The division of Germany 

Communists and many other antifascists made efforts to promote 
democratic renewal in all zones of occupation. The occupation au- 
thorities in the Western zones, however, left the economic power 
of the German monopoly corporations intact. They prohibited in- 
itiatives which would have resulted in the expropriation of war cri- 
minals and nazi activists. The USA, Great Britain and France, to- 
gether with bourgeois politicians and right-wing social democrats, 
set out in 1947 to divide Germany, In September 1946 the United 
States and Great Britain announced the merger of their zones of 
occupation. In June 1948 a currency reform was carried through in 
the Western zones of occupation resulting in the introduction of 
the doliar-based Deutschmark. When a Federal government was 
formed in September 1949 with Konrad Adenauer as Federal 
Chancellor the political division of Germany was a fait accompli 
The Federal Republic of Germany was established in breach of the 
Potsdam Agreement. 

The founding of the German Democratic Republic 

The establishment of the West German separate state had created 
a completely new situation. The FRG claimed to be the sole suc- 
cessor of the German Reich and the representative of all Germans. 
The working class and Its allies in eastern Germany needed a 
sovereign state of their own to defend the achievements of the an- 
tifascist and democratic transformation. 

38 History 

On 7 October 1949 the People's Council, the leading body of 
the People's Congress Movement for unity and just peace, met in 
Berlin. The Council represented the political alliance between the 
working class and all other sectors of society. At its session, the 
Council unanimously decided to constitute itself as the People's 
Chamber of the German Democratic Republic. It enacted the Con- 
stitution and elected a government. Upon a joint proposal of all 
parliamentary groups Wilhelm Pieck was elected President of the 
Republic. The government, headed by Prime Minister Otto Grote- 
wohl, included members of the SED as well as of the other parties 
in the Democratic Bloc. 

The administrative functions which until then had been per- 
formed by the Soviet military authorities were transferred to the 
new government. 

The foundation of the GDR ushered in a completely new chap- 
ter of German history. For the first time ever, an independent state 
came into existence which was created by the working class and 
all other working people. In its first declaration the government of 
the GDR committed itself to peace, social progress and friendship 
with the Soviet Union and all peace-loving nations. 

In 1950 the GDR and Poland signed an agreement fixing their 
joint border at the Oder-Neisse line once and for all, as laid down 
in the Potsdam Agreement. 

Almost at the same time the GDR was founded the National 
Front was created as a broad and democratic popular movement. 
From the outset, this movement represented the alliance between 
the working class and all social groups of the GDR's population. 
The National Front identified as its main tasks the consolidation of 
the GDR and the reunification of Germany on a democratic ba- 

How the foundations of socialism were laid 

One of the most important tasks to be solved by the newly esta- 
blished workers' and farmers' state was to rebuild a strong econ- 

History 39 


of 15 December 1950 




peoples or entangle the German people in a new war, 
cases, with 

whosoever recruits , encourages or incites German 
nationals to participate in warlike sets for the purpose 

imprisonment and, in serious cases, with hard la- 

Whosoever glorifies or propagates the use of atomic 
weapons, or other^means of mass destruction such m 



omy. The extremely disproportionate state of development in in- 
dustry, resulting from the past and exacerbated by the division of 
Germany, had to be overcome. An effective metallurgical basic in- 
dustry was set up with assistance from the Soviet Union, heavy 
engineering expanded and a start was made on building a mer- 
chant fleet during the first five-year plan from 1950-55. In the sec- 
ond half of the 1950s a number of big power stations were built. 
Other priorities were the development of the country's raw mate- 
rials basis and chemical industry. 

In 1950 the GDR became a member of the Council for Mutual 
Economic Assistance (CMEA). its participation In the CMEA 
proved to be a fundamental prerequisite for the further develop- 
ment of the GDR's national economy. 

Agricultural production cooperatives. The first agricultural pro- 
duction cooperatives were set up En 1952. This initiated the trans- 
ition from individual farming to large-scale socialist production in 
agriculture. As a result, food supplies improved and gradually the 
backwardness of the countryside was overcome. Any questions 
concerning the development of the cooperatives were discussed 
with the cooperative farmers. By 1960 the transition to cooperative 
production in agriculture was completed. 

Craft production cooperatives. First production cooperatives 
were also formed by craftspeople. Retail traders made arrange- 
ments on a commission basis with the public trading sector. Pri- 
vate owners of industrial, construction and transport firms invited 
the state to act as joint proprietor of their businesses. This helped 
to involve these sectors of society In socialist construction. 

In 1949 workers 1 and farmers' faculties were set up and played a 
particularly important role in training a socialist intelligentsia. By 
the time they were abolished in the early 1960s, some 
30,00Qyoung workers and farmers had attended courses at these 
faculties to qualify for higher education, 

| Economic development made it possible to improve living con- 

ditions. Between 1950 and 1960 real income more than doubled. 
The working week in industry and in the transport and communi- 

History 41 

cations sector was reduced to 45 hours in 1957 with no loss of 

Rearmament in the FRG and the country's integration into 
NATO in 1955 cemented the division of Germany. In May 1955 the 
European socialist countries signed the Warsaw Treaty of Friend- 
ship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, Since its formation in 
1956 the GDR's National People's Army has been integrated in the 
Warsaw Treaty organization. 

The GDR and the FRG had become members of the two oppos- 
ing world systems and developed according to mutually irrecon- 
cilable social principles. 

Afterthe death of President Wilhelm Pieck on 7 September 1960 
the People's Chamber decided to establish a Council of State to act 
as collective head of state. Walter Ulbricht, First Secretary of the 
SED Central Committee, was elected Chairman of the Council 
which was composed of representatives of all political parties and 
mass organizations. 

Enormous economic and political damage was caused to social- 
ist construction in the GDR by the open border with the FRG and 
Berlin (West). On 13 August 1961 the National People's Army and 
the workers' militia, which had been formed in 1953, together with 
other armed bodies of the GDR assumed control over the border 
which had been open until that point. The action had been agreed 
with the other Warsaw Treaty countries. 

On the road towards building 
an advanced socialist society 

After the fundaments of socialism had been established it became 
both possible and necessary to systematically develop and shape 
the emergent new society. 

Economy, in the 1960s priority was given to the development of 
those industrial branches which were best suited to conditions in 
the GDR and the requirements of scientific and technological 
progress. They included the chemical industry, notably petro- 

chemistry, eiectrical engineering and electronics. The late 1960s 
saw the foundation of the first combines in the public industrial 
sector, which were soon to become pace setters in terms of effec- 
tiveness. In the rural sector, the agricultural cooperatives were 
consolidated and increasingly worked together on the basis of in- 
ter-cooperative agreements. Economic progress allowed the in- 
troduction of measures to improve working and living conditions 
of the people. The five-day working week was gradually intro- 
duced in 1966-67. 

The People's Chamber adopted in 1965 the Law on the Inte- 
grated Socialist Education System. Most important was the esta- 
blishment of the ten-class polytechnical school as a compulsory 
school for all children. 

Friendship treaties. In the sixties, theGDR concluded treaties of 
friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with the Soviet Un- 
ion, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, and, in 1972, 
with Romania. Economic cooperation with the other CMEA mem- 
ber countries considerably increased, particularly so with the So- 
viet Union. At that time, the trade agreement with the USSR for the 
period from 1966 to 1970 was regarded as the most comprehen- 
sive such contract in the history of world trade. 

Socialist constitution. In a plebiscite in April 1968, 94.5 per cent 
of all those eligible to vote gave their support to the new socialist 
constitution. The Constitution/which was extended and amended 
again in 1974, defines the GDR as a socialist state of workers and 
farmers, as the political organization of working people in town 
and countryside, led by the working class and its party. The Con- 
stitution is based on the notion that the socialist German nation is 
developing in the GDR. 

Moves to normalize relations with the FRG. It became increa- 
singly clear that the process of divergent developments of the 
GDR and the FRG was irreversible. Based on this analysis, Willi 
Stoph, who had become Chairman of the GDR Council of Minis- 
ters after the death of Otto Grotewohl in 1964, proposed to the 
FRG government in 1967 to conclude a treaty on the establishment 

. ■ ■ . 



la agqpjHB tettV: •• 


Millions gave their support 
to the GDR Constitution in 
April 1968. 

44 History 

of normal relations between the two states on the basis of interna- 
tional law. However, any understanding was impeded by the FRG 
government's insistent sole representation claim and the concom- 
itant diplomatic blockade against the GDR, 

Breaking the diplomatic blockade. During the 1960s the GDR 
intensified relations with a number of Asian, African and Latin Am- 
erican countries. In particular, trade relations developed success- 
fully. Agreements were concluded with several countries on the 
exchange of consulates general. A worldwide movement for the 
recognition of the GDR, supported in many countries by friend- 
ship societies with the GDR, essentially helped to break the diplo- 
matic blockade. In 1969-70, the GDR established diplomatic rela- 
tions with 14 countries. 

Building the advanced socialist society 

fn 1971, the SED Central Committee elected Erich Honecker First 
Secretary (since 1976 General Secretary). The People's Chamber 
elected him Chairman of the Council of State in 1976. 

The 8th SED Congress, which was held in June 1971, decided 
upon the political strategy to build the advanced socialist society. 
The task was to constantly improve the material and cultu ral living 
standards of the people on the basis of stable and continuous 
economic growth. The SED adopted a five-point peace pro- 
gramme to manifest the GDR's will to contribute towards safe- 
guarding peace and bringing about a turn to detente in Europe. 

Economic growth. When in the early 1970s the state had bought 
up the remaining privately owned industrial enterprises and those 
in mixed private and public ownership, socialist production rela- 
tions prevailed in the whole of the GDR's industry. Economic 
growth was mainly achieved through intensified production and 
better utilization of scientific and technological achievements. In 
the late 1970s a start was made to build a microelectronics industry 
and to introduce robotics. The consolidation of existing and the 
formation of new industrial combines had the greatest impact of all 

History 45 

on the perfection of economic management and planning. Suc- 
cesses were also apparent in agriculture where highly efficient 
cooperative and state farms developed, specializing in either crop 
or livestock production. New model statutes for cooperative 
farms, which were endorsed by the Council of Ministers in 1977, 
stimulated Intensification of agricultural production on a coopera- 
tive basis. 

Social policies. Economic achievements made it possible to 
Implement the most comprehensive social welfare programme in 
the history of the GDR. Between 1970 and 1980 more dwellings 
were built than in the previous twenty years put together. State al- 
locations to improve material and cultural living standards more 
than doubled. Earned incomes and pensions increased. Particular 
efforts were made to assist large families and working mothers, 

Legal system. The socialist legal system was improved by the 
adoption of the Youth Act in 1974, the new Civil Code which in 
1975 replaced the last law still originating from capitalist times, the 
Labour Code in 1977 and the National Defence Act in 1978. To- 
gether with the Family Code of 1965, all major fields of social fife in 
the GDR were now regulated by new and comprehensive laws. 

Socialist economic integration. On the basis of the CMEA com- 
plex programme of 1971 the GDR worked to deepen socialist 
economic integration. On 7 October 1975 the GDR concluded a 
new treaty of friendship and mutual assistance with the Soviet Un- 
ion, to be followed by similar treaties with other socialist coun- 

Within the framework of the Intercosmos programme of the 
CMEA countries the first joint USSR-GDR manned space mission 
was carried out in August and September 1978, Siegmund jahn, 
son of a worker's family and a Communist, was the first German in 
outer space. 

Worldwide diplomatic recognition. A turn towards detente, 
notably in Europe, was brought about In the early 1970s by the 
treaties which the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Poland concluded 
with the FRG, as well as by the Quadripartite Agreement on West 

46 History 

History 47 

Berlin and the Treaty on the Bases of Relations between the GDR 
and the FRG, These positive changes were directly connected 
with the worldwide diplomatic recognition of the GDR. In 1973, 
the GDR was admitted to the United Nations, and by the end of 

1974 diplomatic relations were established with more than 
100 countries. The GDR participated actively in the Helsinki Con- 
ference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). Desirous 
to imptementing the provisions of that conference's Final Act of 

1975 the GDR concluded numerous treaties and agreements with 
capitalist CSCE countries covering nearly every field of activity in- 
cluding measures to safeguard peace, economic relations, 
science and technology, culture and sports. 

Continuity in implementing the central policy 

The GDR has continued to develop as a politicaliy stable and econ- 
omically efficient socialist state since the early 1980s. in the five- 
year plan period from 1981 to 1985 successful efforts were made to 
raise national income, labour productivity and production output 
with decreasing inputs of energy, raw materials and feedstocks. 
On this basis it was able to enter into the phase of full-scale inten- 
sive development of the economy to save working time, labour 
and resources. 

Intensification of agricultural production had an equally good 
record. Almost every year saw new records in grain production 
and yields per hectare achieved on a more favourable input-out- 
put ratio. The target figures for livestock production were sur- 

The GDR supported the measures adopted by the CMEA to in- 
crease multilateral integration and intensification of production. 
Long-term programmes on cooperation in the fields of science, 
technology and manufacturing until the year 2000 were concluded 
with the USSR and other CMEA members. 

The considerably strengthened economic potential was used 
for measures to maintain and further raise material and cultural 


48 History 

standards. The SED decided at its 11th Congress in April 1986 to 
continue the proven policy of translating economic progress into 
social benefit and adopted a number of important social welfare 

Efforts were continued to advance socialist democracy. An im- 
portant measure in this connection was the adoption of the Local 
Government Act in 1985 under which the local elected assemblies 
and local councils are assigned a larger role in the life of society. 

The GDR preserves and cultivates everything progressive in- 
herited from the past. This is documented by the events and publi- 
cations on the occasion of Karl Marx Year which was commemo- 
rated in 1983, by the commemorative events to honour Martin 
Luther on the occasion of his 500th anniversary in the same year or 
the events organized to pay tribute to the composers Bach, Schutz 
and Handel in 1985. 

Analysing the present dangerous exacerbation of the interna- 
tional situation the 1 1th Congress of the SED emphasized that the 
GDR regards it as its most important task to help save mankind 
from a nuclear inferno and bring about a turn towards disarma- 

The GDR supports the proposals of the USSR and the other War 
saw Treaty member countries for detente and disarmament The 
comprehensive disarmament programme submitted by Mikhail 
Gorbachev, General Secretary of theCPSU Central Committee, is 
seen as ushering in a new stage in the peace making process, of- 
fering all nations the chance of a peaceful future. In shaping its re- 
lations with the FRG the GDR is guided by the notion that the two 
German states bear a particular responsibility for peace, which is 
rooted in the experiences of the past and their position at the divid- 
ing line between the Warsaw Treaty and NATO. 

In the future the GDR will continue its endeavours to develop its 
own initiatives in order to help build a worldwide coalition of com- 
mon sense and realism to prevent a nuclear conflagration. It re- 
mains an unshakeabfe principle of the GDR to do everything possi- 
ble to prevent a new war emanating from German soil. 

May 1945. Red Army has defeated the Nazis in Berlin. Soviet soldiers 
at the Brandenburg Gate. The liberators give bread to the starving 
Germans, (previous page) 

Removing the ruins, the first step to postwar regeneration, (above) 

A new teacher with hrs class. By summer 1946, 40,000 teachers had 
been trained to work in the new democratic schools, (above right) 

The land of the Junkers and large estate owners is given to poor farm 
ers and farm labourers, (below right) 


In Apri] 1946, the two workers' parties, the KPD and SPD, merged to 
form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. 

Historic handshake between party leaders Wilhelm Pieck of the KPD 
and Otto Grotewohl of the $PD. (above) 

Writers Thomas Mann (centre of photo) and Johannes FT Becher seen 
at the 1949 tribute to Goethe in Weimar, (right) 

German premiere of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage in Berlin's 
Deutsches Theater, (far right) 

GDR established on 7 October 1949. Wilhelm Pieck is elected Presi- 
dent. (below) 

The Eisenhuttenkombinat Ost, an iron and steelworks built in the 
1950s, has seen ongoing modernization and expansion, (above) 

Erich Honecker seen here in Helsinki in 1975 signing the Final Act of 
the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, (above 


3 September 1978. Siegmund Jabn, the GDR's first man in space, 
with Soviet commander Valery Bykovsky after their return to Earth, 
(below right) 

The monument in Treptower Park is dedicated to the memory of the 
20,000 Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in the liberation of Berlin, 

The state and its citizens 

The GDR is a democratic state. Its Constitution, elected assem- 
blies and authoritative bodies represent the unity of all political 
and social forces of the people gathered under the leadership of 
the working class and its party, the Socialist Unity Party of Ger- 
many ($ED). The alliance of all classes and strata and the socialist 
ownership of the means of production are fundamentals of social- 
ist society. 

The proven cooperation between the SED and the other politi- 
cal parties and mass organizations is marked by strict respect for 
the complete political and organizational independence of all ele- 
ments of the political system in the GDR. 

Comprehensive political, economic, social and cultural rights 
guaranteed by the law make sure that all citizens have the chance 
to play an active part in the preparation, implementation and con- 
trol of government decisions. 

Basic rights and duties 

The Constitution of the GDR guarantees all citizens the basic right 
to live in peace and to participate in formulating the country's poli- 
tical and economic strategies and shaping its social and cultural 

The right to participation in public affairs is solidly ensured. All 
government authorities are elected in a democratic process. The 


sspjai M 


58 The state and its citizens 

public takes an active part in their work, and the people are in- 
volved in the management of society, in planning and developing 
social life. 

Every citizen has the same rights and duties, irrespective of na- 
tionality, race, philosophy, religious confession, social back- 
ground and position in society. Upon completion of their 18th year 
of life every citizen of the GDR has the right to vote and is eligible 
to aii people's assemblies. 

The right to work is guaranteed under the Constitution and the 
Labour Code and practised in everyday fife. Socialist ownership of 
the means of production and state planning and management are 
the reasons why full employment and job security are ensured in 
the GDR. All citizens can rest assured in the knowledge that they 
will receive sound training followed by a job. The right to equal 
pay for equat work applies to both men and women, adults and 

The right to education ensures that a high level of education is 
imparted to all young people regardless of the social status of their 
parents, and that everybody has access to the highest education 
institutions. The integrated socialist education system offers 
everyone equal opportunities. Ail young people have the right 
and the duty to learn a trade or profession. 

The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed. Every citizen 
can, in compliance with the principles of the constitution, freely 
and publicly express their opinion without prejudice to their per- 
son or status. The freedom of the press, radio and television is 
firmly protected. The law forbids any manifestation of militarist 
and revanchist propaganda. Expressions of hatred of any parties 
lar faith, race or nation will be regarded as criminal acts and pun- 
ished accordingly. 

The right to freedom of conscience and belief mea ns that every 
citizen is able to profess their religious faith and to worship. The 
churches and other religious communities function in compliance 
with the relevant legal stipulations. 

Equal rights for women are assured in all spheres of fife. State 

The state and its citizens 59 

authorities are obliged to treat women as citizens with equal rights 
and to promote women in society. Socialist society has created all 
the necessary political and economic conditions for implementing 
this basic human right. There is not one single democratic institu- 
tion in the GDR where women are not duly represented and do a 
highly appreciated work. Economic independence of women is 
guaranteed by the right to work. 

Young people's rights, in particular the right to work and lei- 
sure, to equal political involvement, to education, to joy and happi- 
ness as well as the realization of these rights offer the young every 
opportunity to help advance the socialist development of the GDR. 
Responsibility and confidence is placed in young people in all 
areas of development. 

The legal system 

The legal system in the GDR serves to implement the interests of 
the working people, uphold legality and protect the freedom and 
dignity of the citizens. It ensures that laws and regulations are 
strictly adhered to. Legal security is an essential feature of the so- 
cialist state. It guarantees equality before the law. Legality is guar- 
anteed by including the citizens in the administration of the law 
and in the mechanism to monitor adherence to the taw. 

The administration of justice is ensured through the Supreme 
Court, the county and district courts and the lay courts. The Peo- 
ple's Chamber of the GDR lays down the guidelines for the work of 
the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General. 

Lay courts are an integral part of the socialist legal system. As a 
form of democratic involvement in the administration of justice 
they operate as grievance commissions at enterprise level and as 
arbitration commissions in residential areas in the towns, commu- 
nities and in the production cooperatives, dealing with cases of in- 
dustrial law, minor civil matters and other petty legal disputes. 

The Department of Public Prosecutions is entrusted with the 
task to protect the public against criminal offenders. It is headed 

60 The state and its citizens 

by the Prosecutor General and sees to the strict observance of 


The German People's Police is under the jurisdiction of the Min- 
istry of the Interior. The police have the responsibility of maintain- 
ing public order and security as well as guaranteeing a peaceful 
life for each and everyone. Their most Important task is to prevent 
and ward off threats to life and limb. They lead the fight against 
crime and other breaches of the law. In their work they can rely on 
the support of many voluntary helpers who, above all, work in 
road safety committees and voluntary fire brigades. 

Political parties and mass organizations 

In the GDR there is no sociaf class or stratum which lives from the 
exploitation of another. Instead, everyone has the same interest in 
seeing that state and society develop for the good of all citizens 
and that everyone, according to performance, can enjoy the fru its 
of society's successes. Through their specific capabilities, tradi- 
tions and attitudes all classes and strata make their contribution to 

In the same way as the GDR is the result of the combined efforts 
of the leading working class, the cooperative farmers, the intelli- 
gentsia and other working people, the political system is charac- 
terized by trusting and comradely cooperation between the part- 
ies and mass organizations. 

The following parties and mass organizations have their own re- 
presentatives in the people's assemblies at all levels: 

The state and its citizens 

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) 

As the party of the working class the SED is the 
leading party in the GDR. in Marxism-Leninism it 
^ as disposal a theory of society and its devel- 
rjm opment which is scientifically based and has 
shown its practical worth. It translates into reality 
the tasks and goals which Marx, Engels and Lenin 
identified as the mission of the working class in building a socialist 
society in the interests of a!! working people. The SED r which was 
founded in the spring of 1946 and was the result of the merger of 
the two German workers' parties - the Communist Party of Ger- 
many (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) - is 
continuing to uphold all the revolutionary traditions of the German 
workers' movement. It unites in its ranks more than two million of 
the most progressive members from the working class, coopera- 
tive farmers, the intelligentsia and other working people. The 
highest party organ is the Party Congress which takes place every 
five years. There the general direction and the principles of the 
policy of the SED are decided on and the Centra! Committee is 
elected which will lead the party between congresses. 

The Democratic Farmers' Party of Germany (DBD) 

The DBD was founded on 29 April 1948 as a demo- 
cratic party for working farmers. Its main concern 
is that each of its members should make their own 
contribution to strengthening socialism and 
peace. The DBD makes an important contribution 
to strengthening the alliance between the working 
class and the cooperative farmers, to introducing new scientific 
and technological findings In agriculture, increasing the effi- 
ciency of agricultural production and promoting socialist develop- 
ment in the villages. The DBD has approximately 110,000mem- 


62 The state and its citizens 

The state and its citizens 63 

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) 

« The CDU unites people who, motivated by Chris- 
tian faith and traditions, are committed to peace, 
human dignity and social justice and actively build 
socialism. It acts to get social concerns of people 
of Christian faith considered in government policy 
and promotes cooperation between Christians 
and Marxists on a basis of equal rights and duties. The CDU was 
founded on 26 June 1945 and has approximately 132,0Q0mem- 

The Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD) 

The LDPD Is predominantly a party of craftsmen, 
retailers and Intellectuals. Its political motivations 
are rooted in the struggles of progressive bour- 
geois democrats who fought in the interest of the 
people against militarism and fascism, Under the 
party's statutes, the members are called upon to 
take an active part in implementing the GDR's peace policy and 
continuing its course of translating economic progress into social 
benefit. The LDPD was founded on 5 July 1945 and has approxi- 
mately 96,000 members. 

The National Democratic Party of Germany (NDPD) 

The NDPD is mainly composed of members of 
the former middle classes, ft greatly helped to 
overcome nationalistic thinking. Its members 
are private and cooperative craftsmen, trad- 
espeople, intellectuals and cultural workers. 
The main thrust of the party's political work is to strengthen social- 
ist state consciousness. The NDPD bears a great deal of responsib- 
ility for the political and moral as well as the socio-economic devel- 
opment of these sectors of the population It represents. The party 

was founded on 25 May 1948 and has more than 100,000 mem- 

The Confederation of Free German Trade Unions {FDGB} 

The FDGB is the unified, free and independent 
trade union organization and is the largest mass 
and class organization of the workers, embracing 
16 industrial and other unions with a total mem- 
bership of more than 9 million. This is over 97 per 
cent of all working people, excluding the mem- 
bers of cooperatives. 

At the national and local level the trade unions play an equal and 
constructive role in the management of the state and the econ- 
omy. All laws which concern the working and living conditions of 
the working people must be discussed with the FDGB and require 
union consent The unions have an important say in the planning 
of the economy ranging from the discussion of the yearly plansfor 
each enterprise to the adoption of the national economic plan. 

The FDGB wasfounded on 15 June 1945. Since 1 January 1949 it 
has been a member of the World Federation of Trade Unions. 

The Free German Youth (FDJ) 



The FDJ has approximately 2.3 million members. 
On a voluntary basis more than three quarters of 
all young people aged between 14 and 25 have de- 
VST cided to join this organization The FDJ is the un- 

\y iform and independent political youth organiza- 
tion in the GDR. The junior wing of the FDJ is the 
Ernst Thalmann Pioneer Organization for boys and girls of 6 to 
14 years of age. 

The FDJ has particularly close relations to the Socialist Unity 
Party of Germany and is the party's active helper and reserve 
force amongst the young. 

The state and its citizens 65 

64 The state and its citizens 

The Mutual Farmers' Aid Association {VdgB} 

The VdgB is a mass organization made up of coop- 
era ^ ve f armers an d gardeners. Its 570, 000 mem ■ 

' bers help boost agricultural production through 

institutions aimed at reducing the strain of work 
and increasing productivity. 

The VdgB helps cooperative farms and small-scale producers 
through its facilities, hire centres and DIY-workshops. 

The FDJ was founded on 7 March 1946. Since 1948 it has been a 
member of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and since 
1950 a member of the International Union of Students. 

The Women's Democratic Federation of Germany (DFD) 

The DFD 1st the unified, democratic 
^ J J ^ J movement for women. It has set itself the 
task of winning over women from all groups 
of the population to the idea of active in- 
volvement in society and is particularly active in residential areas 
and at grassroot level. It offers women a wide range of educational 
opportunities and social involvement and helps to make the equal 
rights of women in society, as guaranteed in the constitution, a 

The DFD was founded on 8 March 1947. 1.5 million women 
from ali sectors of society form the membership. Since 1948 the 
DFD has been a member of the Womens' International Demo- 
cratic Federation (WIDF). 


The National Front 

The National Front was born in 1949, the foundation year of the 
GDR, giving the new state a wide foundation in all classes and 
strata and among all democratic and patriotic forces in the coun- 
try. Nowadays it is the GDR's socialist popular movement which 
unites the political parties, mass organizations and individual citiz- 
ens. The National Front organizes and supervises all public elec- 
tions in the GDR. It has taken it upon itself to make people aware of 
thel r civic responsibility, to cooperate closely with the people's as- 
semblies, the enterprises and other institutions and to develop a 
rich intellectual and cultural life in the towns and communities. It 
encourages socialist civic consciousness and citizens initia- 

Hundreds of thousands of people are taking part, for example, 
in community improvement campaigns offering their help to 
implement the country's housing programme. They participate in 
laying out children's playgrounds, building indoor swimming 
pools and sprucing residential areas. In the neighbourhoods they 
assist elderly people and maintain parks and green spaces, sports 
grounds and cultural establishments. 

The Democratic Bloc is the core of the National Front and an um- 
brella organization uniting all political parties as well as the Con- 
federation of Free German Trade Unions, the Free German Youth, 
the Women's Democratic Federation of Germany, the League of 
Culture and the Mutual Farmers' Aid Association. It is a forum to 

The League of Cufture of the GDR (KB} 

The members of this the largest cultural organiza- 
/ \ t' on in the GDR take a keen interest, in their more 

I yPt ! than 10,000 interest groups, in all aspects of cultu- 
V^V// raf life in towns and villages. They devote a great 
deal of attention to the work environment and the 
promotion of knowledge, science and technology. They encou- 
rage the upholding of, and the familiarization with, the cultural 
heritage, the spreading of art and literature and varied cultural and 
creative activities of the citizens. 

The League of Culture was founded on 3 July 1945 and has more 
than 265,000 members, with more than 20 per cent of its members 
being under 30 years of age. 

66 The state and its citizens 

discuss all fundamental issues of the GDR's domestic and foreign 
policies, ensuring united action of the members of all political part- 
ies and mass organizations. All decisions must be taken by consen- 
sus and the office of chairman rotates on a regular basis. 

The people's assemblies 

The elected people's assemblies are the basis of the system of 
state authorities. They constitute all government departments. All 
people s assemblies are elected for a period of five years in free, 
general, equal elections by secret ballot. 

The elected representatives are accountable to the electorate. 
They must report on their activities and include the electors in the 
preparation, Implementation and monitoring of governmental de- 
cisions. Work methods include regular political surgeries in enter- 
prises and their constituency. An elected representative who 
grossly neglects his duties can, in accordance with the procedures 
laid down in the law, be recalled by the electorate. 

The elected representatives in the German Democratic Re- 
public are not full-time politicians but continue with their respec- 
tive occupations. If necessary for the exercise of their duties as 
an elected representative, they are exempted from work and 
continue to receive a full pay. 

Every people's assembly establishes its committees or commis- 
sions. Besides the elected members, these bodies include also cit- 
izens with specialist knowledge in certain spheres. The commit- 
tees and commissions are entrusted with the task to prepare d rafts 
and resolutions, to consult and to monitor the implementation of 
resolutions adopted. 

The People's Chamber is the GDR's supreme representative 
body. It is the sole constitutional and legislative authority of the 
country and nobody may curtail its rights. The members of the 
People's Chamber enjoy personal immunity. The work of the Peo- 
ple s Chamber is guided by a presidium whose President is Horst 

The state and its citizens 67 

Sindermann, a member of the Politburo of the SED Central Com- 

The People's Chamber takes fundamental decisions concern- 
ing the structure and activities of the central government bodies. It 
elects the chairmen and members of the Council of State and the 
Council of Ministers, the Chairman of the National Defence Coun- 
cil, the President and the judges of the Supreme Court as well as 
the Prosecutor General. 

The People's Chamber defines the guidelines of the country's 
foreign policy. It approves or terminates international treaties and 
is authorized to decide on a state of defence. It can decide to hold 

The members of the People's Chamber for the 1986-90 legisla- 
tive period were elected on 8 June 1986 by 12,392,G94citizens 
which means that they received 99.94 per cent of the votes cast. 
Turnout at the election was 99.74 per cent of the electorate. 

The Council of State is a body elected by, and responsible to, 
the People's Chamber. The Chairman of the Council of State Is 
Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central Committee of 
the SED. The Council of State represents the GDR under interna- 
tional law. It is vested with the right to ratify or denounce interna- 
tional treaties. It takes fundamental decisions on matters relating 
to the defence and security of the country. The Council of State 
issues the writ for elections to the People's Chamber and the local 
assemblies and ensures that these elections are prepared and held 
in a democratic manner. It also exercises the right of amnesty and 

The Council of Ministers is the government of the GDR. An or- 
gan of the People's Chamber, it is responsible for translating the 
state's political strategy into practical measures in the fields of for- 
eign policy, economy, welfare, culture and defence. It is vested 
with the task of organizing the integrated management of econ- 
omic processes which are of decisive importance for the coun- 
try's economy as a whole. 

The Council of Ministers stipulates the principles underlying 

68 The state and its citizens 

the work of the i ndividua! ministries and other departments of cen- 
tral government, defines their competences and monitors the dis- 
charge of their duties. It coordinates the activities of ministries and 
other state authorities at the national level and their cooperation 
with local councils. 

The ministers are required to explain the laws and resolutions of 
the Council of Ministers to ail local assemblies and their councils 
as well as the citizens and to discuss with them the tasks to be 
solved. The Chairman of the Council of Ministers is Willi Stoph, a 
member of the Politburo of the SED Central Committee. 

The local councils are bodies elected by the local assemblies in 
the counties, districts, towns, boroughs and communities. They 
are accountable to the respective assemblies and carry out, on 
their authorization, the political, economic, social and cultural 
tasks which come under their jurisdiction. 

The election of deputies to people's assemblies 

The National Front is the political force organizing and supervising 
the election process. It has been established practice since the 
GDR was founded for the political parties and mass organizations 
to put their candidates nominated fortheefections to assemblies at 
all levels onto one common list of candidates to be presented to 
The electorate by the National Front. Electoral law requires all 
candidates proposed for election to an assembly to be monitored 
first of all by their work teams. If prospective candidates fail to get 
through this preliminary examination their party or organization 
may not enter them on the list of the National Front, in this way, the 
working people have a decisive role to play in determining who 
shall represent their interests in the elected assemblies. After ac- 
ceptance by their work teams candidates are required to present 
themselves to the voters in their constituency and answer any 
questions they may have. In preparation for elections lists of candi- 
dates are drawn up to ensure that all people entitled to vote can 
exercise their right to vote. The constituency represented by an 

The state and its citizens 69 

assembly which Is to be elected is divided Into wards. For every 
ward an election committee is formed which ensures that voting at 
the polling station runs smoothly and properly. In all elections the 
number of nominated candidates exceeds the number of man- 
dates available. On the day of the election every voter has the op- 
portunity to cross out on the joint list of the National Front those 
candidates in whom he has no confidence. Voters are entitled to 
go to the polling booth and vote in secret. After the election the 
votes are counted in public at the polling station. Candidates who 
receive more than half of the valid votes cast are elected. 

The run-up to the election is always used fora broad discussion 
on the results of the previous legislative period and on future 
tasks. It is an opportunity for the citizens to familiarize themselves 
just as thoroughly with developments on the national scale as with 
projects concerning their town, village or neighbourhood. Here 
also they have the opportunity to bring their influence to bear on 
state planning and decision-making through their suggestions, 
comments and, if necessary, critical remarks. 

Churches and other religious communities 

For historical reasons that are due to the work of Luther and the 
Reformation, the Protestant creed is well and truly dominant in the 
GDR. About 4, 300 pastors do their service in eight Evangelical pro- 
vincial churches which merged to form the Federation of Evan - 
getical Churches of the GDR in 1969. 

The Catholic Church in the GDR breaks down into two Dio- 
ceses, three Episcopal Districts and one Apostolic Administration 
and is headed by the Berlin Bishops Conference, the union of Ca- 
tholic bishops in the GDR. There are 988 pastoral communities 
and 1,l44clergy* Moreover there are, mainly in regions with a 
high percentage of Catholics, men's and women's orders, monas- 
tics, convents and other monastic facilities. 

Apart from these, there are 40 other religious communities in 
the GDR, most of which are affiliated to worldwide organizations. 

70 The state and its citizens 

There are eight Jewish communities for citizens following this 
creed, which are organized in the Union of Jewish Communities in 
the GDR. To practise their religion they may avail themselves of 
eight synagogues and houses of prayer which, having been de- 
stroyed during the time of fascism, were rebuilt from government 
funds and consecrated. The same can be said of the 125 Jewish 
cemeteries, one of the largest of its kind in Europe being the Jew* 
ish cemetery in Berlin-Weissensee. 

The churches and other religious communities manage and 
practise their activities In line with the Constitution and other legal 
stipulations in force in the GDR. Guided by the principle that the 
state and the church should be separate, the socialist state in its 
relationship towards the churches is striving for a matterof-fact 
atmosphere marked by mutual understanding and complying with 
the Constitution Tribute is paid to the commitment shown by the 
churches to the cause of safeguarding peace and ensuring all peo- 
ple's well-being. 

For the care, promotion and rehabilitation of the mentally and 
physically handicapped as well as for elderly people, the chu rches 
run a large number of charitable and welfare facilities. The state 
assists them by financial allocations and personnel training. 

Destroyed during the Second World War, many churches and 
chapels in the GDR were restored and rebuilt with government as- 
sistance, A great number of Protestant and Catholic churches 
and community centres are set up in new residential areas as part 
of a special construction scheme. 

Church music, Christian literature and art as well as church pu- 
blications have assumed a substantiaf scale in the GDR. The 
Evangelische Verlagsanstaft and the St. Benno-Verfag are publish- 
ing houses run by the churches with the largest congregations. 

Churches in the GDR are actively involved in alleviating hunger 
and poverty and helping the victims of natural disasters in the 
framework of campaigns called Bread for the World and Distress 
tn the World and support the anti -racism programme of the World 
Council of Churches. 

Structure of government 

(simplified version) 

Council of 

People's Chamber 

Council of 



County assemblies 



District assemblies 

Town and city 
and village 

Town and city 
councils and 
village councils 


- ' ■ 

!? ■ :: - ,v '. = ^ 


The state and its citizens 

Millions of GDR citizens are involved in decision-making: 

206.000 elected representatives 

186.000 citizens cooperate on the standing committees of local people s 

388.000 people sit on National Front committees 

359.000 are involved in the administration of justice 

610/000 citizens sit on parents' groups and parent-teacher associations 
at school 

300.000 people are metinbers of shop counc its 

Members of the People's Chambe 

(Learned trade or first occupation) 

Workers 271 

Cooperative farmers 31 

Office workers 69, 

Members. of the Intelligentsia 126 
Others 3 

Proportion of young deputies 
and of female deputies 

(between 18 and 25 years) 

V ou n g d e put i es F e m a \ e d ep | ti es 
percent percent 

People's Chamber 
County assemblies 
District assemblies 
Village assemblies 
Borough assemblies 

Elected trade union representatives 

At group- .level 
Shop stewards 
Cultural organizers 

Social insurance representatives 
Safety representatives 
Members of sub-branch committees (AGL) 
Members of trade union branch committees 
at enterprise, firmand school level' 

Members of women's commissions 

Members of retired persons sub- branch committees 

M em hereof aud it i n g co m ml s s i o n s 

The Whit rallies of the Free German Youth organization can look 
back on a long tradition. 

Harry Tisch, Chairman of the FDGB National Executive, is seen here 
talking to workers at the crane factory in Eberswalde. 

Erich Honecker meets some of the residents of Thalmann Park, a 
new housing estate in Berlin. 

Consultations between the parties and mass organizations repre- 
sented in the People's Chamber. 

Great hall of the People's Chamber 

The State Council building on Marx Engels Platz in Berlin 

Village representative Karla Haupt from the Oppitzsch cooperative 
farm, Dresden county, seen talking to her voters. 

Discussing the plan at the petrochemical combine in Schwedt. 

National flag 
of the German 

Karl Marx Order 

This highest of all 
awards is bestowed on 
individuals, places of 
work and mass organi- 
zations in recognition 
of outstanding efforts 
in developing the so 
ciafist system of society 
in the GDR and in pro- 
moting international 

Star of International 

This award is presented 
to individuals and mass 
organizations who have 
been particularly out* 
standing in fostering in- 
ternational friendship 
and cooperation, pre- 
serving peace or rais- 
ing the international 
prestige enjoyed by the 

National Prize 

The GDR National Priz-j 
is bestowed on groups 
of persons and individ- 
uals for outstanding 
achievements in 
science and technol- 
ogy, the arts and li1sr 0J 
tore. The National 
Prizes are awarded an' 
nually on 7 October, 
the GDR's national htfl'' 

Foreign policy 

In its foreign policy the German Democratic Republic seeks to 
help preserve peace in Europe and the world at large and, through 
effective measures of arms limitation and disarmament, prevent a 
nuclear war. In this way foreign policy contributes towards creat- 
ing external conditions which are most favourable for the further 
shaping of the country's advanced socialist society. 

The GDR is working consistently to strengthen the fraternal alli- 
ance with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. It 
maintains relations marked by anti-imperialist solidarity with all 
nations and countries struggling for national independence and 
social progress and does its utmost to facilitate mutual understand- 
ing and confidence in its relations with the capitalist states on the 
basis of the principles of peaceful coexistence. 

This peaceful foreign policy has the support of the entire popu- 
lation. In the GDR, no class or social group has an interest in war 
nor can gain any profit from armament. The unity between the 
people's interests and governmental policies guarantees that the 
GDR will never pursue a policy of war, aggression, subjugation 
and plundering of other countries and peoples, it is the greatest 
desire of the people and the supreme goal of the state to safeguard 

82 Foreign policy 

For international peace 

The GDR's domestic and foreign policies are based on the notion 
that the maintenance and safeguarding of peace have become the 
crucial issue of the human race. Closely finked with the Soviet Un- 
ion and the other countries of the socialist community the GDR 
makes every effort to avert the danger of a nuclear inferno and 
promote international security by measures to halt and reverse the 
arms race. 

With this in mind, the GDR supports the comprehensive Soviet 
proposals of 15 January 1986 to free mankind from nuclear means 
of mass destruction by the beginning of the third millennium 

The allied countries favour an integrated approach to the disar- 
mament issue. In their view, the elimination of weapons of mass 
destruction should be complemented by substantial reductions in 
armed forces and conventional armaments. Guided by this desire, 
the Warsaw Treaty member states addressed an appealtoall other 
European countries, the United States and Canada containing 
proposals which, if they were implemented, would markedly re- 
ducethe dangerof war in Europe. The appeal calling for cuts in the 
armed forces and conventional armaments in Europe, which the 
Warsaw Treaty member states directed in June 1986 to the mem- 
ber states of NATO and, indeed, all European nations is seen by 
the GDR public as a historic move to meet the greatest concern of 
all nations, to live up to their most cherished hopes and aspira- 

The GDR believes that it is necessary for all political and social 
forces who are truly striving for peace to act together without re- 
gard to ideology, social origin, race or creed. As in the past, the 
GDR will continue in its varied efforts to build a coalition of com- 
mon sense and realism in order to thwart the lunatic policies of 
preparing a nuclear war and forging ahead with armament. 

The GDR advocates the cessation of the arms race on earth and 
the prevention of its escalation into outer space. This could be 
achieved by measures such as 

Foreign poficy 83 

— the cessation of ail nuclear tests; 

— the comprehensive prohibition of offensive space weapons and 
the discontinuation of all activities to develop, test and deploy 
such systems as well as the renunciation of the so-called strate- 
gic defence Initiative; 

— a 50 per cent reduction in all Soviet and US nuclear weapons 
capable of reaching the territory of the other side; 

— a freeze on existing nuclear arsenals attheir present quantitative 
levels with strictest possible restrictions on their qualitative im- 

— theelimination of all intermediate-range missiles in Europe; 

— the establishment of nuclear-weapon free zones and chemical- 
weapon free zones; 

— the creation of a zone free from battlefield nuclear weapons in 
Central Europe. 

The GDR is working consistently for the conclusion of an agree- 
ment on the complete prohibition and elimination of chemical 
weapons, including the particularly dangerous category of binary 
weapons, and for the non-proliferation of chemical weapons. 

Since 1973 the GDR has been a direct participant in the ongoing 
talks in Vienna on a mutual reduction of armed forces and conven- 
tional armaments in Central Europe. At the Stockholm conference 
It actively contributes towards efforts to come to an agreement on 
confidence and security buiiding measures, both in the political 
and military fields, in Europe. In this connection, the GDR places 
Qreat importance on steps to strengthen and expand the principle 
of the non use of force in international relations. The GDR makes 
Its own active contribution to disarmament through its initiatives to 
halt and reverse the arms race and its direct participation In rele- 
vant international negotiating bodies. 

The USSR, the GDR and the other countries of the socialist com- 
munity have worked out a comprehensive and generally accept- 
able programme to continue their peace initiative. They are pre- 
pared, on the basis of international agreements and in compliance 
With the principle of equality and equal security, to limit, reduce 

84 Foreign policy 

withdraw from their arsenals and finally eliminate all types of wea- 
pons. It is this peace concept that determines the GDR's foreign 
policy stance. 

It is also the common concern of all five political parties in the 
GDR, all mass organizations, various religious communities and 
virtually all citizens. By its nature, the peace movement in the GDR 
is a democratic popular movement. It embraces all social classes 
and sectors of society, people of every age with different philoso- 
phies and religious beliefs. 

Firm alliance with the Soviet Union 
and the other socialist countries 

As a signatory state of the Warsaw T reaty, a member of the Coun- 
cil for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and a party to numer- 
ous bilateral treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assist- 
ance the GDR is firmly incorporated in the community of socialist 
states. This strengthens its international position and is a precondi- 
tion for the further successful shaping of its advanced socialist so- 
ciety and its protection. 

The GDR's close and fraternal alfiance with the Soviet Union 
and the other socialist countries is rooted in the concurrence of 
their interests in resolving national and international issues. 

For many years the GDR has made it one of its top priorities to 
strengthen and develop its ties with the Soviet Union. The main 
pillar of the two countries' relationship is their Treaty on Friend- 
ship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance of 7 October 1975, 

I n the view of the GDR the resolutions adopted at the 27th CPSU 
Congress gave important fresh impetus to the struggle for peace, 
the advancement of socialism and the growing unity and coher- 
ence of the community of socialist countries. 

Bilateral treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assist- 
ance were also concluded with the Poiish People's Republic, the 
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Hungarian People's Repu- 
blic, the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the Socialist Republic of 

Foreign policy 85 

Romania. In addition, the GDR signed treaties on friendship and 
cooperation with the Mongolian People's Republic, the Socialist 
Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Cuba, the People's Republic 
of Kampuchea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Relations with other so- 
cialist countries are likewise developing on the basis of long-term 
agreements. New efforts have been made to intensify relations be- 
tween the GDR and China. In various talks leading political figures 
of the two countries underlined the shared belief that the most ur- 
gent task of the present day is to safeguard peace and prevent a 
nuclear inferno. 

The GDR's intensive relations with all socialist countries at party 
and governmental level in the fields of politics, economics, de- 
fence, science, technology, culture and sport promote the perma- 
nent growth of the intellectual and material potential of the social- 
ist countries, accelerate their pace of development and bring 
nations and people closer together. 

For an active policy 
of peaceful coexistence 

The GDR, together with all other socialist countries, pursues a pol- 
^ icy of peaceful coexistence. It is their essential contribution to the 
struggle for peace and security, and against the danger of a nuc- 
lear world war. It is the only way of eliminating the immensely 
heightened danger of a nuclear inferno and safeguarding peace 
on a lasting basis* The strategy of superarmament and confronta- 
tion puts at risk all that has been achieved through the devoted ef- 
forts of nations and peoples. There can, therefore, be no reason- 
able alternative to the policy of peaceful coexistence. 

The GDR, together with the other socialist countries, continues 
to work with determination for the implementation of the princi- 
ples of peaceful coexistence between states of differing social sys- 
tems, Desirous to help improve the international climate and build 
a coalition of common sense and realism the GDR seeks to enter 

86 Foreign policy 

into dialogue with alf those who are involved in the political deci- 
sion-making process and bear political responsibility. In this way 
the GDR contributes to better mutual understanding, predictabih 
ity and extensive cooperation in all fields. Political dialogue, con- 
ducted in various forms and at various levels, is a feature of the 
GDR's foreign policy. 

In this con neetion great importance attaches to the process ush- 
ered in by the Helsinki Conference on security and cooperation. 
The GDR greatly helped prepare the Helsinki Final Act which stip- 
ulates the fundamental principles and recommendations which 
must serve as the pillars of security and cooperation in Europe. 
The GDR's attitude to the Helsinki Final Act, to the CSCE process 
in general, has at all times been governed by its overriding interest 
to preserve and safeguard peace. The GDR persistently favours 
strict adherence to the letter and the spirit of the Final Act as well 
as fresh efforts to revitalize detente. This attitude is in full accord- 
ance with the desire of its people for peace. 

The treaties concluded between the USSR, Poland and Cze- 
choslovakia and the Federal Republic of Germany, the Treaty on 
the Rases of Relations between the German Democratic Republic 
and the Federal Republic of Germany and the Quadripartite Agree- 
men! on West Berlin signed in 1971 by the Soviet Union, the Un- 
ited States, Britain and France provided the basis for developing 
peaceful relations and mutually advantageous cooperation be- 
tween states with different social systems. The GDR advocates ad- 
herence to the treaties concluded and opposes all attempts at dis- 
crediting, or undermining these treaties, testing them to breaking 
point or returning to a strategy of blackmail against the socialist 
countries. It shares, with its allies, a firm resolve to continue their 
efforts to advance, in a consistent and balanced manner, that mul- 
tilateral process which began at the Helsinki conference. 

The GDR is prepared to further expand its political relations with 
capitalist countries, having an interest in developing cooperation 
in the economic, scientific and technological fields on the basis of 
equality and mutual advantage. This policy is reflected in the multi- 

Foreign policy 87 

tude of government agreements and contracts with West Euro- 
pean countries, corporations and firms. The GDR resolutely op- 
poses attempts directed at straining international economic rela- 
tions by imposing embargoes, boycotts or other impeding mea- 
sures or using economic relations as a means for political 
extortion. The GDR wishes to develop cooperation in the fields of 
environmental protection, culture, education and health and to 
work for the implementation of human rights in all fields with due 
respect for the sovereignty of states. 

In its relations with the Federal Republic of Germany the Ger- 
man Democratic Republic acts on the notion that the maintenance 
of peace remains the most important issue. In view of their histori- 
cal experience and their geographical position in the very heart of 
Europe the two German states bear a special responsibility to pro 
mote peace, security and disarmament. Acknowledging this re- 
sponsibility the GDR makes great efforts to maintain extensive pol- 
itical dialogue with the leading political figures in the Federal 
Republic. The implementation of far-reaching measures to pre- 
vent the militarization of outer space and halt the arms race on 
earth would open up prospects for halting a further build-up of 
arms on German soil thus providing more security for both Ger- 
man states. 

The GDR wishes that only peace and not war emanates from 
German soil. Relations between the two German states must not 
be a burden on the situation in Europe. They must add impetus to 
efforts aimed at creating harmony and trust among states and na- 
tions in Europe. 

The GDR wants to apply fully the principles of peaceful coexis- 
tence in its relations with the FRG. In the future as well it will firmly 
oppose any attempt at changing the European post-war order. 
Great political significance attaches to the fact that the GDR and 
the FRG jointly declared in 1985 that the inviolability of frontiers 
and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states 
in Europe within their present borders are fundamental prerequi- 
sites for peace. 

88 Foreign policy 


The GDR, for its part, is prepared to contribute in a constructive 
manner to the development of normal and good-neighbourly rela- 
tfons with the FRG. 

in its relations with West Berlin the GDR is guided by strict ad^ 
herence to the Quadripartite Agreement, notably its central provi- 
sion that West Berlin continues not to be a constituent part of the 
Federal Republic and may not be governed by it. The GDR has 
launched many initiatives to develop and expand relations with 
West Berlin. It is still prepared to discuss issues of common inter- 
est with the Senate of West Berlin and search for solutions which 
are beneficial to both sides. 

Friendship and cooperation in solidarity with 
nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America 

The GDR shows its solidarity with the liberated countries in Asia, 
Africa and Latin America. It supports their struggle for peace, poli- 
tical and economic independence and social progress, and 
against imperialist policies of threat, pressure and interference, 
colonialism, neo-colonialism and racism. True to its foreign policy 
goals the GDR has always supported the peoples fighting for na- 
tional and social liberation, and it will continue to do so in the fu- 
ture. The GDR acts on the notion that common efforts for interna- 
tional peace and disarmament help create more favourable 
conditions for the development of the countries in Asia, Africa and 
Latin America. 

If peace is to be maintained it is more urgent than ever before to 
defuse sources of conflict and tension everywhere in the world by 
way of negotiations involving all parties concerned and taking ac- 
count of their legitimate interests. The GDR continues to assist the 
people of Nicaragua and endorses the search for a peaceful and 
just solution to the conflicts in Central America. It demands that 
the policy of apartheid be ended in southern Africa, support of the 
racist regime be discontinued and national independence be 
granted to Namibia. In view of the volatife situation in the Middle 

Foreign policy 89 

East the GDR emphatically calls for the complete wlthd rawal of \s^ 
r ae!I forces from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, the 
implementation of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people 
including their right to self-determination and the establishment of 
an independent state of their own, and the Implementation of the 
right of all states in the region to independent existence and devel- 
opment. The convening of an International Middle East peace con- 
ference under the auspices of the United Nations and with the par- 
ticipation of all parties concerned, including the PLO as the sole 
legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, would be an 
appropriate step to bring just and stable peace to the Middle 

The GDR commends the increased role played by the non 
aligned countries in international affairs and combines efforts with 
them in the struggle to eliminate the danger of war H promote 
peace, disarmament and development and solve international 
economic and financial problems. It supports the non-aligned 
movement's endeavours to establish a new international econ- 
omic order and resolve international monetary and credit issues in 
order to enable the non-aligned countries to participate in interna- 
tional cooperation on an equal footing and free from imperialist 

Particularly close ties have been established with the countries 
opting for socialism, e.g. Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia. The 
treaties on friendship and cooperation signed with them provide a 
solid basis for mutually advantageous relations in the economic, 
trade, scientific and cultural fields, the training of national cadres 
and the assignment of experts. Beneficial cooperation also marks 
the relations with other countries which seek to consolidate their 
political and economic sovereignty. Almost 400 treaties and con- 
tracts were signed with these countries which provide a reliable 
framework for calculable, long-term and stable cooperation in all 

An important facet of the GDFVs foreign policy is the political 
and economic assistance it renders in the spirit of internationalism 

90 Foreign policy 

to socialist and socialism-oriented countries and national libera^ 
tion movements fn Asia, Africa and Latin America, above all by 
Shipping urgently needed commodities, including food, medical 
supplies and clothing as well as equipment and teaching aids to 
help eradicate illiteracy and train national cadres. To this end con- 
siderable funds are made available from private solidarity dona- 
tions organized above alf by the Confederation of Free German 
Trade Unions and the GDR's Solidarity Committee. 

Foreign policy 91 

Constructive work 

in the United Nations Organization 

The GDR regards the United Nations as an important and truly uni- 
versal organization which has set itself the task of maintaining 
wortd peace and promoting international cooperation. The GDR is 
actively and constructively engaged in strengthening the United 
Nation's role as a forum of the struggle for peace, disarmament 
and international detente and against colonialism, neo-colonial- 
ism and racism. The GDR wants to see the aims and principles of 
the Charter and the world organization's achievements and poten- 
tial to help avert the danger of a nuclear conflagration and pre- 
serve world peace. 

The GDR has shown that it truly fulfils its obligation to spare no 
effort so that only peace and security and not war emanate from 
German soil. Thanks to the cooperation between socialist and 
non-aligned countries the world organization was able to adopt 
numerous resolutions on measures to safeguard peace and elimi- 
nate dangerous hotbeds of conflict. In the disarmament field the 
GDR sponsored, inter alia, resolutions calling for the prohibition 
of the first use of nuclear weapons, measures to halt and reverse 
the nuclear arms race, the condemnation of aggressive nuclear 
doctrines, the stressing of the need for result-oriented negotia 
tions based on the principle of equality and equal security and the 
demand for the prohibition of chemical weapons and the esta 
blishment of chemical-weaponTree zones. 

The GDR believes that peace Is indivisible and therefore sees 
the inherent danger of any local dispute exploding into a major 
conflict in the present tense state of international affairs. For this 
reason it works in the United Nations and its various bodies for 
peaceful. settlement to all international conflicts and disputes and 
for strict observance of every nation's right to define its own des- 
tiny. In this sense it stands together with the other countries of the 
socialist community, the non-aligned countries and all peace-lov- 
ing forces in the search for solutions to conflicts in Central Amer- 

92 Foreign policy 

ica, the Middle East, West Asia and southern Africa by way of ne^ 

On repeated occasions, the leading representatives of the GDR 
have exchanged views on a wide range of subjects with the Secre- 
tary-General and other senior officers of the United Nations and its 
| specialized agencies. The UN Secretary-General praised the 
GDR's peace policy and its constructive work which has earned it 
the respect and appreciation of the world organization. This was 
reflected, inter alia, in its election by an overwhelming majority as 
a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the 1980-81 

In the future as well the GDR will bring ail its influence to bear in 
order to halt the arms race on earth, prevent its extension into gu- 
ter space and ensure a life in peace, freedom and prosperity for 





A unique opportunity for humankind 

The Soviet Union has made proposals to rid the world 
of nuclear weapons by the year 2000. 

This programme has the full support of the GDft. 

Stage 1 (beginning 1986, 5 to 8 years) 

• renunciation by USSR and USA of offensive space based 

• cessation of nuclear weapon tests by USSR and USA 

• halving of the two countries' nuclear weapons capable of 
reaching the territory of the other side 

• no further build-up in British and French nuclear arse- 

• no delivery of US strategic and intermediate- range mis- 
siles to other countries 

Stage 2 (beginning 1990, 5 to 7 years) 

• freezing of nuclear weapons belonging toother countries 
and undertaking by Britain r France and China not to de- 
ploy them In other countries 

• multilateral ban on spacebased offensive weapons (with 
the leading industrial nations taking part on a compulsory 

• a halt to all nuclear tests 

• elimination of tactical nuclear weapons with a range up to 
1,000 kilometres by all nuclear powers 

Stage 3 (beginning no later than 1995) 

• Completion of the abolition of all remaining nuclear 

m Universal agreement never again to build nuclear 


f0rCes a " d conv en«onal armaments in Europe 

e appeal by the Warsaw Treaty member states of 11 June 1986 

* ^ Tr ? a ' y , m T ber States prdpose a substantial reduction fn . ; . 
the land and tactical air forces of the European states and in the come 

Asaftst S sten Ce ^° f ^ United | S ' a j eS and Canada stati °ned in Europe. 

As a first step, a single mutual reduction is proposed to be carried Out in 

such a way that the troop strength of the counties belonging mhe io 

p osingrn"t a ry -political alliances be cut by 100,000-150 000 trooDs rfn 

rnnnt S,de t Wlth r,^ ne — tW ° * pars - Given the willingness of the NATO 
countries to act likewise, the land and tactical air forces of both military 

Europe wou J d ' tV the early 1990s, be reduced by some 
25 per cent as compared with present levels 

• In the appeal, it is proposed to work out such a system of reductions in 


technical means and international procedures including on-site inspec- 

E0r purp ° se of verification, an international consultative committee 
th °w 66 °' r med Wlth "^participation of representatives of NATO and 

* ctrr!hL°!h their m SPO,,Sibility - the Warsaw Treat V member states de 
dare that they will never, under any circumstances, initiate military ac- 

the^ wo^dcMf thev* the" *1T Whe<her f " EUr0pe ° r in an V 0,her «*i°n of 
me world, if they themselves are not victims of aggression. 

QOR contributions toward implementing the provisions of the Helsinki Fi- 
nal Act in its relations with capitalist CSCE countries in the period from 
1975 to 1985 

In 1975, the participating countries at the Conference on Security and 
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) adopted, in Helsinki, a Final Act stipulating 
•principles of security in Europe and of. cooperation in the fields of econom- 
ics, science, technology, environmental protection, culture, education, 
human contacts and information . 

The German Democratic Republic, has made extensive efforts to imple- 
ment the Final Act in all its parts: 

1) Political and treaty relations 

The General Secretary of the SED Central Committee and Chairman of 
|§ the GDR Council of State, Erich Honecker, had meetings with the heads 
H; of state or government of 17 capitalist: CSCE countries. 

« The GDR Foreign Minister, Oskar Fischer, met with the foreign minis- 
. ters from 18 Western CSCE countries for formal .consultations on 53 oc- 

• casio ns, 

• 28 delegations of • t h e ' Pe o p le r s C Ka.mb e r of the GDR visited 12 capitalist 
T , ies., 4.2 pariia me nta ry deieg afi on s from 1 9 W ester h CSCE, cou n - 

tries visited the GDR. 

• A total of 284 treaties, agreements and contracts were concluded with 
'' almost all capitalist CSCE countries to expand bilateral relations. 

2) Cooperation in the fields of economics, science, technology and envir- 
onmental protection 

Desirous to using the opportunities provided by the Final Act for mutu- 
ally advantageous economic, scientific and technological cooperation, 
| ' the GDR concluded 171 pertinent treaties and agreements. These in- 
clude agreements on economic, industrial,, scientific and technological 

ta fist CSCE countries' than vice versa. 

■: ■ 


Meeting between Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the 

State, and Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the 
CPSU Central Committee. The meeting between the two 

■ . 

• • 


nal relations between their parties and nations and to the 
campaign for disarmament and detente. 

Traditional New Year reception for the diplomatic corps at the seat of 
the Council of State, (above) 

Meeting between the joint working group of the SED Central Com- 
mittee and the SPD parliamentary group concerned with the creation 
of a corridor free of nuclear weapons in Europe, (above) 

Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw 
Treaty Organization in June 1986. (below) 

If 1 

in | 


■ * 

h j£ S i 

a ? ] 

iya lit: 

Erich Honecker's arrival at the start of an official visit to Italy 

UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar Is welcomed by For- 
eign Minister Oskar Fischer during his official visit to the GDR. 

Horst Sindermann, President of the Peopled Chamber (fourth from 
right) receives a delegation from the US House of Representatives in 
January 1986. 

Peace rally before the ruins of the Franciscan monastery church in 
Berlin to remember the 40th anniversary of Hiroshima and Naga- 

This orthopedic and rehabilitation centre near Hanoi is one of the lar- 
gest projects in Vietnam to be financed by donations from the GDB 

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Is seen here at the Charite 
Teaching Hospital In Berlin visiting some of the wounded patriots 
from his country who have received medical treatment in the GDR. 

Peace rally at the site of the former Buchenwald concentration camp 

The German Democratic Republic boasts a modern and highly ef- 
ficient socialist economy, its economic achievements have earned 
it a respected place among the world's leading industrial nations. 
An efficient industry and advanced agriculture as well as strong 
scientific and technological potential provide essential conditions 
for ensuring that all future tasks will be accomplished successfully 
in a peaceful world. 

Economic development in this country is marked by dynamism, 
continuity and growth. This forms the material foundation for the 
preservation of peace and the improvement of the people's pros- 
perity, which is the underlying Idea of the policy conducted by the 
party of the working classand thegovernmentof theGDR. For this 
reason, the 11th Congress of the $ED, held in April 1986, set new 
ambitious targets for the GOR's growth -oriented national econ- 
omy in the period up to the year 1990 and beyond. They are 
geared towards full-scale intensification of the economy and more 
rapid development of production, scientific and technological 
progress and labour productivity. 

The foundations of the socialist economy 

Socialist ownership of the means of production forms the basis of 
the relations of production prevailing in the GDR. There is public 
ownership above all in industry (3,650 enterprises), in the con- 

106 The national economy 

struction sector (almost 550 firms) as well as in the transport and 
the telecommunications sector. 

Cooperative property is dominant in agriculture and the crafts 
sector. In the distributive sector, most facilities are in public or 
cooperative ownership. 

Alongside the public and cooperative facilities, there exist pri- 
vate retail outlets, crafts enterprises and restaurants. They all have 
a secure future in the G DR. In the period between 1981 and 1985, 
roughly 13, 500 licences we re granted by the government to crafts- 
men to run private businesses. 

Socialist enterprises account for almost 97 per cent of the GDR 
economy's net output. 

The main indicators 

of the 1986—90 Five-Year Plan 

he GDR s economic development in the years from 1986 to 1990 
is geared towards the successful continuation of the country's 
central polrcy in its synthesis of economic and social policies. Full 
employment, growing prosperity, high educational standards for 
all, science and culture will continue to be typical features of life in 
our country. 

The objectives set for the coming five-year period are designed 
to ensure a high pace of economic growth. The emphasis is on 
full-scale intensification of social production. This involves mak- 
ing more effective use of existing potential and the most rational 
application of all resources with a view to attaining good economic 
results. This applies particularly to scientific capacities, labour pot- 
ential and working time, machinery and plant, the building stock, 
raw materials, feedstocks and energy as well as financial re- 
sources. Lasting progress in intensification is to bring more fin- 
ished products for the consumer market as well as the develop- 
ment of the national economy and the fulfilment of foreign trade 

Related with this is the more rapid development of key technolo- 

The national economy 107 

gies and their wide application and the manufacture of nnore top- 
quality products matching international standards. The GDR's 
economic potential is increasingly determined by microelectron- 
ics, modern computing and computer-aided design and control of 
production. An important task facing the GDR consists of accele- 
rating the upgrading of raw materials and feedstocks and, concur- 
rently, reducing production input and costs to an increasing ex- 
tent. The technological base of production will continue to be 
modernized along planned lines. Use should be made of all oppor- 
tunities available for raising labour productivity at a quicker 

National income is to rise by between 24 and 26 per cent be- 
tween 1986 and 1990 to exceed 1,300biNion marks. Up to 40 per 
cent of the planned growth in national income is to be derived 
from reductions In production input. 

How a plan is worked out 

Before an economic plan is adopted by the People's Chamber, it is 
necessary to consider, analyse and calculate thousands of econ- 
omic factors, conditions and indicators in their mutual interrela- 
tionships and diverse interactions. The required starting points 
and conclusions for ensuring that overall political and economic 
interests are met are laid down at national level. The five-year and 
annual plans are worked out by the State Planning Commission in 
close cooperation with leading economic bodies, industrial com- 
bines and enterprises as weil as government bodies. The plans 
contain concrete tasks to be tackled by ministries, industrial com- 
bines and counties. Not only economic processes are subject to 
planning but also tasks and projects geared towards the further im- 
provement of the materia! and cultural standard of living of the 

Workers, engineers and of fit e employees in the socialist enter- 
prises and their trade union branches are actively involved in plan- 
ning and the fulfilment of plan targets. It is a long-standing prac- 

108 The national economy 

tice of works managements and trade union committees to discuss 
the indicators issued by the government for the coming year care- 
fully with the working people. The discussions centre around co n . 
Crete targets and projects because the management is obliged to 
break down the draft plan into the tasks to be completed by indi- 
vidual work teams and, if possible, at individual work stations. 

The proposals submitted by the workforce of an enterprise 
form an integral part of a trade union statement on the plan to be 
approved at a general meeting of trade union shop-stewards. 
Works managers and the general managers of industrial combines 
are required to vindicate their draft plans before the superordinate 

government department in the presence of trade union represen- 

As many as 6.2 million working people took part in the discus- 
sion held in preparation of the national economic plan for 1986, 
2.2 million taking the floor and submitting more than 735,000 
proposals, suggestions and criticisms. They suggested ways of 
employing manpower, energy resources, raw materials and sub- 
stances, machinery and equipment as well as investment funds to 
greater effect, reducing costs and further improving working and 
living conditions. 

The draft plans of the industrial combines are compiled by the 
ministries and the State Planning Commission to see whether they 
are assimilable in order to ensure a well-balanced development of 
the entire economy. 

From these final overall calculations emerges the draft national 
economic plan. It is first put before the parliamentary committees 
for consideration and thereafter enacted by the full session of the 
People's Chamber. The targets fixed become binding indicators 
for minimum increases to be achieved by the industrial combines, 
enterprises and local government authorities. 

The national economy 109 

Science and technology 

Ever better and fuller use of the possibilities offered by science 
and technology is of decisive importance in efforts to ensure con- 
tinued dynamic economic development byway of intensification. 
Thanks to the application of scientific and technological results, 
enterprises were able to save an annual average of 500 million 
man-hours In the period covered by the 1981 - 1985 Five-Year 
Plan. This is equivalent to the working hours of 300,000 people. 

Roughly five per cent of national income is at present set aside 
for science and technology in theGDR. Thistestifiestothe import- 
ance which our society attaches to them. The material and finan- 
cial funds made available by the state for science and technology 
increased from 4.2 biiiion marks in 1970 to 8,2 billion marks in 
1932 to total 10.8 billion marks in 1935. 

Increasing importance is assumed by the application of key 
technologies. The results attained by the GDR in this respect in- 
clude more than 56,600 industrial robots introduced into the na- 
tional economy by the end of 1985 as well as 11,200CAD/CAM 
work stations. Another 75,000 to 80,000 industrial robots will be 
manufactured and brought into use from 1986 to 1990. The num- 
ber of CAD/CAM work stations wifi rise to between 85,000 and 
90,000 while the output of biotechnological products is to increase 
by 200 per cent by 1990 compared with 1985. 

Thanks to scientific and technological findings, the product in- 
novation rate is to reach a level of at least 30 per cent in industry, 
and for consumer durables even 45 to 50 per cent. It is a matter of 
manufacturing new top-quality products in large batches In keep- 
ing with consumer demand and at low cost, products that are in 
great demand on the world and domestic consumer markets. 

High standards have been set regarding the closer combination 
and interaction of science and production and the close coopera- 
tion of academies and colleges with industrial combines, enter- 
prises and institutions. Cooperation in research which takes place 
on the basis of the plan and economic contracts is geared towards 


110 The national economy 

The national economy 111 

major innovations, which can only be achieved by a forward-loo- 
king basic research programme, and to top achievements j n 
science and technology which can be applied with great econ- 
omic effect. In 1985, for instance, 37 of the 41 natural science, 
technological and medical research institutions of the Academy of 
Sciences of the GDR worked together with industrial combines, 
enterprises and other partners on the basis of over 550 economic 
contracts. More than 30 per cent of the scientific and technologh 
cal potential of the Academy is bound up with industry by con- 
tracts, and another ten per cent with agriculture, the health ser- 
vice and other sectors. 

Naturally, the standards set for intensification also apply to 
science. The task before future-orientated basic research is to pro- 
vide the foundations required for ensuring economic and social 
development in the 1990s. ft will concentrate on the priorities and 
main directions of what are expected to be the most important 
scientific disciplines and key technologies such as information 
processing and technology, highly effective man-machine com- 
munication as well as flexible and computer-aided automation so- 
lutions. ft is important to do the required scientific groundwork in 
the field of microelectronics and optoelectronics for new proce- 
dures and technological methods, including fibre optics and laser 
technology. Utmost attention is payed to scientific work designed 
to enhance the exploration, mining and use of indigenous raw ma- 
terials, the development of highly productive processes for their 
conversion into higher-grade products, particularly in the field of 
coal-based chemistry, and the production of feedstocks on the ba- 
sis of domestic raw materials. 

The GDR is able to fail back on considerable potential in this 
respect, which is testified to by the fact that more than 200,000 
highly qualified working people are employed in the research 
and development sector. 


Accounting for 70 per cent of the produced national income, in- 
dustry provides the decisive foundation for the country's increa- 
sing economic strength. 

Of the GDR's workforce of approximately 8.5 million, more 
than 3.2 million are employed in industry. Decisive branches of in- 
dustry are energy and fuel, chemicals, metallurgy, building mate- 
rials, water management, mechanical and automotive engineer- 
ing, electrical engineering and electronics, instruments manufac- 
ture, light industry and the textiles and food industry. 

Microelectronics is among the GDR's youngest industries. It 
has developed dynamically since 1977, registering the highest 
growth rates of all branches. The GDR works closely together with 
the USSR in this sector. Specialization and cooperation is increa- 
sing constantly in the development of modern standard technolo- 
gies new components and microprocessors, as well as the pro- 
duction of special-purpose devices for LSI and VLSI circuits, as 
well as passive components and subassemblies for microelectron- 
ics. The value of microelectronic components and devices pro- 
duced by 1990 will rise to at least 42 billion marks. 

Raw lignite continues to play a key role in the development of 
the GDR's energy and raw materials base. It is its most important 
source of primary energy. The focus is on the development of new 
techniques for its conversion into higher-grade sources of energy 
and chemical feedstocks. It is of prime importance for the GDR's 
national economy that fuller use is made of indigenous raw materi 
als, Le. natural gas, mineral and silicate raw materials, raw timber 
and recycled materials as well as lignite. 

The chemical and metallurgical industries are of great import- 
ance in ensuring material and technological supplies for the na- 
tional economy. Upgrading processes wilt be continued systemat- 
ically in the period up to 1990. In the mechanical engineering sec- 
tor industrial output is to rise by between 30 and 32 per cent by 



The national economy 

The further development of consumer goods production to en- 
sure supplies for the domestic market and for exports Is another 
priority of our national economy. Consumer goods should be 
marked by top scientific and technological standards with regard 
to the refining levels of the materials used and their use value, 
They should be something new on the international market, be 
easily sold on the domestic market and exported profitably. The 
capacity and efficiency of traditional consumer goods combines 
and enterprises will be further raised for this purpose through 
systematic reconstruction and modernization schemes. All com- 
bines primarily engaged in capital goods manufacture are ex- 
pected to produce consumer goods in special departments or affil- 
iated enterprises and to develop their capacity to an extent that 
their output of consumer goods accounts for at least five per cent 
of their overall manufacturing output. Further increases in produc- 
tion will, above all, have to be ensured in the area of consumer 
electronics, sports and leisure articles, as well as textiles and high- 
quality luxury foods. 

Services for the general public and public facilities will be im- 
proved by raising the capacity of nationally-owned service cen 
tres and by promoting the activities of craft production coopera 
tives and the private crafts sector. 

Industrial combines 

As the largest economic units in the GDR combines constitute the 
basic form for organizing modern large-scale production and, 
consequently, the centrepiece of the planned socialist economy. 

At present there exist 157 centrally administered combines in 
industry, construction, tefecommunications and transport. Their 
general managers are directly subordinate to the relevant minis- 
ters. In addition, there are 126 industrial and building combines 
coming under the economic councils at county level. These com- 
bines have a total workforce of just under four million, he. almost 
50 per cent of the GDR's overall labour force. 

The national economy 


The combines in their entirety and the individual enterprises 
forming part of them are given their own state plans and are re- 
sponsible for their accounting activity. Enterprises affiliated to 
combines are independent both economically and legally and 
bear their own names. 

Industrial combines and their affiliated enterprises combine 
science and technology organically with production and the sale 
of products In accordance with economic standards. Conse- 
quently, combines are in a position to implement large-scale 
economic projects effectively off their own bat. 

Almost the entire research and development capacity of indus- 
try and other branches of the economy is concentrated in com- 
bines. Long-term agreements concluded with the Academy of 
Sciences, universities and colleges make it possible to make new 
scientific and technological findings and to bring them to indus- 
trial use promptly, to apply highly productive processes without 
loss of time and to ensure high levels of efficiency in production. 
All combines possess efficient departments for the in-house 
manufacture of rationalization equipment used for the introduc- 
tion of most up-to-date technological methods and, above all, the 
modernization of fixed assets. 

Socialist competition 

and the innovators movement 

Socialist competition is inseparably linked with the state plan. It re- 
presents the chief form of working people's democratic participa- 
tion in management, planning and plan fulfilment. Socialist 
competition is organized and guided by the Confederation of Free 
German Trade Unions. Given the introduction of most up-to-date 
technology into the production process, socialist competition is 
geared towards achieving productivity increases and spreading 
the most successful experiences. Outstanding initiatives and per- 
formances in socialist competition are honoured with bonuses and 
trade union or government distinctions. 


The national economy 

The innovators movement forms a significant part of socialist 
competition for the accomplishment of scientific and technology 
cal projects. The movement is actively promoted and supported 
by trade union committees in enterprises and institutions. There is 
an annually rising number of workers, technicians and engineers 
who work with personal commitment and contribute their own 
new ideas to scientific and technological advance. Over one 
third of all workers— every fourth of whom is a woman and every 
second a young person-is actively involved in the innovators 

In 1985, the number of innovators in the nationally owned sec- 
tor of the economy reached the two-million mark. The practical 
use of innovations rose from 5.6 billion marks in 1984 to 5.9 bil- 
lion in 1985, 

Women in the economy 

Women account for 50 per cent of the GDFTs workforce. Natu- 
rally, they are on a par with men, receiving equal pay for equal 
work. Differences in educational standards between men and 
women dating back to the capitalist past have been eliminated 
Women's involvement in the work process in the GDR has al- 
ways gone hand in hand with the improvement of their voca- 
tional qualifications. 

Almost 79 per cent of all women employed in the economic sec- 
tor have completed some vocational training. They account for 
more than 36 per cent of aJJ university and college and over 60 per 
cent of all technical school graduates, as well as 50 per cent of all 
skilled workers. Women have won a place for themselves in many 
technical occupations. Approximately one third of all shiftworkers 
in industry are women and of the female production workers un- 
der 25 years of age, 50 per cent are employed in the multi-shift 

Enterprises and institutions attach great attention to the creation 
of the best possible conditions for women to reconcile their 

The national economy 


duties in occupational life with those at home within the family and 
their own training. This is the special concern of the women's 
commissions run by enterprise trade union committees in 
industrial enterprises, government authorities and cooperative 

Youth initiatives 

Today, there is hardly any enterprise or firm in the GDR where the 
socialist youth organization, the Free German Youth, does not 
make a tangible contribution to the fulfilment of the country's 
economic plans. The more than 6,000youth teams and the FDJ 
members i nvolved i n 7,800 youth projects piay a signifies nt role i n 
implementing the new phase of our economic strategy and parti- 
cularly in the efforts made to produce top scientific and technolog- 
ical performances. 

Youth promotion plans are drawn up in all combines and enter- 
prises, Works managers and public organizations are required to 
support youth teams, to help set up new ones and to allocate to 
them projects for which they bear full responsibility. 

Youth projects of long standing are the "FDJ initiative Berlin", 
the "Natural Gas Pipeline" in the USSR and the "Electrification of 
the Railways" project. New major projects have been added to 
these such as the "Intensification of the Production of Higher- 
grade Chemical Fibres", "Car Manufacture", "Livestock Pro- 
duction" and "Microelectronics" initiatives as well as the "Ma- 
terials Saving" campaign of the Free German Youth. The latter 
campaign resuited in gains of over eight billion marks in the period 
between 1981 and 1985. The amount of scrap collected by mem- 
bers of the FDJ and the Pioneer Organization is equivalent to the 
raw materials required by the Brandenburg steel and rolling mill, 
which is one of the GDR's most important such mills, to produce 
over a period of 11 months. The waste paper collected by them 
suffices to provide the country's largest paper factory in Schwedt 
with the raw materials it needs for two years of production. Under 

116 The national economy 

the housing modernization campaign of the FDJ, almost 
58,000 dwellings were completed from 1981 to the summer of 
1985, most of them being allocated to young married couples. At 
the 12th FDJ Congress in 1985, the up-and-coming generation as- 
sumed the obligation to rehabilitate roughly 100,000 dwellings by 
1990 and at least 20, 000 of these in the countryside. 

In 1984-85, 1.2 million girls and boys participated in the Young 
Innovators Movement (MMM). This means that approximately 
two thirds of all apprentices, young skilled workers and students 
were involved in this movement of young people. They tackled 
174,593 projects with gains for the national economy totalling 
1.56 billion marks. Of the 2,499innovations on display at the Cen- 
tral Innovators Fair In 1985, 1,130 were of a top international scien- 
tific and tech no tog real standard in the areas concerned. Almost 
1,400 applications for patents were made within the framework of 
the innovators competition for young people. 

A member of the CMEA 

Socialist economic integration is being intensified further at a 
qualitatively higher level as a decisive factor in the steady econ 
omic development of the GDR and the other countries of the so- 
cialist community. Of special importance are the resolutions 
adopted by the members of the Council for Mutual Economic As- 
sistance (CMEA) at their summit in July 1984 and the Long-term 
Programme adopted in December 1985, as well as a number of far- 
reaching bilateral agreements. 

Within the framework of the Long-term Programme, coordi- 
nated measures were agreed on for the creation and utilization of 
completely new technologies and technological processes 
through the concentration of all forces available and close, large- 
scale cooperation. The accent is on the 

- Introduction of microelectronics into the national economy, 

- Large-scale automation, 

- Nuclear energy. 

The national economy 117 

~ New substances and technological processes for their produc- 
tion and processing and 
- Biotechnology. 

The socialist community has available all the forces and potential 
required for meeting the tough challenges of our time. One of its 
most important objectives is the accelerated transition to the appli- 
cation of intensive patterns in the economy and increasing effi- 
ciency. This is attained primarily through a substantially higher 
rate of scientific and technological progress, by guaranteeing con- 
tinued growth of social production as a prerequisite for streng- 
thening the material and technological base of the national econ- 
omy and forenhancing people's prosperity This includes mastery 
of key technologies and improvement of the technological stand- 
ards of products, a rapid rate of product innovation, expansion of 
the export potential, rational locational distribution of the produc- 
tive forces and acceleration of the process of gradual approxima- 
tion of the CMEA countries' economic development levels. The 
tasks and projects arising therefrom form part and parcel of the 
individual countries' national economic plans. 

The GDR works actively on the joint solution of these projects as 
part of the Long-term Programmefor Scientific and Technological 
Progress up to the Year 2000 which was adopted at the CMEA 
meeting in December 1985. 

In the period between 1981 and 1985, the GDR was involved in 
the implementation of roughly 350 agreements on specialization 
and cooperation. Long-term agreements concluded with the 
USSRand the other CMEA partners guarantee the saie of GDR pro^ 
ducts for years ahead and ensure vital Imports. In the 1986-90 pe- 
riod, these countries will account for approximately 63 per cent of 
the GDR's entire foreign trade volume. 

With its huge economic and scientific potential, with its wealth 
of experience and reliability, the USSR has for decades been the 
GDR's No. 1 partner in the CMEA, The Long-term Programme on 
Cooperation in the Field of Science, Technology and Production 
in the Period up to the Year 2000 concluded in 1984 on a bilateral 


118 The national economy 

basis marked art historic step towards the further intensification of 
economic i ntegration between the two countries. The programme 
contains the two partners' clear ideas concerning the further pool- 
ing of their material and technological resources and their scien- 
tific and technological potential with a view to increasing their 
economic strength and its effect. It thus provides a sofid founda- 
tion for determining the basic trends for the futu re development of 
the GDR's nationaf economy. 

Plan coordination with the Soviet Union and the other members 
of the CMEA is the chief instrument for harmonizing economic 
policies. The main directions, tasks and projects for mutually ad- 
vantageous cooperation have been laid down in concrete terms 
for the 1986-90 period. The protocol on plan coordination signed 
with the Soviet Union stipulated in detail how collaboration can be 
rendered more closely in future, how specialization and coopera- 
tion can be deepened, how top performances can be achieved in 
science, technology and production and mutual goods deliveries 
be developed along dynamic lines. 

At the beginning of 1986, there existed about 220 agreements 
concluded between the GDR and the USSR at governmental and 
ministerial level and covering almost all spheres of economic en- 
deavour. As things stand today, scientific institutions in the two 
countries cooperate on hundreds of subjects in the field of applied 
and basic research. 

A major role is piayed by joint efforts in the reconstruction 
and rationalization of enterprises to raise productivity and 
product quality and to reduce costs. This applies particularly to 
enterprises in the mechanical engineering sector, electrical 
engineering and electronics, the glass industry and the consumer 
goods sector. 

The GDR, which covers a great part of its vital raw materials and 
fuel requirements with imports from the Soviet Union, participates 
in building natural gas pipelines and other projects in the USSR. Of 
major importance in meeting transport needs economically is the 
setting up of a railway ferry between the GDR and the USSR via the 

The national economy 


Baltic Sea H connecting Mukran (Rugen island) and Klaipeda (Lat- 
vian SSR). 

Foreign trade 

For the GDR's national economy to develop dynamically and con- 
tinually, it is also necessary to ensure the sale of its products for 
long periods in advance. 

Foreign trade is the monopoly of the state in the GDR. This is a 
principle enshrined in the country's Constitution. The commercial 
dealings of the GDR are carried out by efficient foreign trade firms 
or combines, specially authorized by the government for this pur- 
pose The foreign trade monopoly held by the state ensures that 
inter governmental treaties and agreements are observed. At the 
same time, it protects the GDR against the negative influences 
emanating from capitalist crises, speculation, currency erosion 
and inflation, attempted blackmail and boycott. The GDR, for its 
part, guarantees economic security for its trading partners 
through the state foreign trade monopoly. 

In keeping with the industrial structure of the GDR, machinery 
and other products of the metalworking industry account for 
roughly 47 per cent, chemicals for about 12 per cent and con- 
sumer durables for approximately 15 per cent of its exports. 

The foreign trade activities of the GDR are, of course, also de- 
signed to ensure for its economy stable and systematic supplies of 
raw materials, sources of energy, semi-manufactures, machinery 
and equipment for rationalization purposes incorporating the la- 
test scientific and technological features. Naturally, the GDR also 
imports goods for the consumer market, for instance, food and re- 
lated products, citrus and tropical fruits, spices and herbs, and 
consumer durables. 

The GDR's foreign trade refations and the volume of goods ex- 
changes are expanding constantly. The GDR has commercial deal- 
ings with over 130 countries. Trade is carried out on a contractual 
basis with almost 100 countries. Official trade representations and 

120 The national economy 

representations of foreign trade firms exist in more than 80 cou^ 
tries. The GDR's foreign trade turnover had a volume of approxi 
mateJy 790 billion marks in the period between 1981 and 1985. a. 
considerable surplus in exports has been achieved annually since 

With 40 per cent (1985), the USSR has the greatest share in the 
GDR's foreign trade. The long-term trade agreement concluded 
between the GDR and the USSR for the period between 1986 and 
1990 provides for mutual deliveries exceeding a value of 380 bib 
lion marks. The agreement is without precedent in the world. 

In accordance with the agreements on plan coordination and 
the long-term trade agreements concluded between the GDR and 
the other CMEA countries for the 1986-90 period and in accord* 
ance with its product mix, the GDR will, above all, export products 
from the metalworking industry and the electrical engineering 
and electronics sectors. In so doing, it will make a considerable 
contribution to the more effective and efficient arrangement of 
production In the CMEA countries. These supplies testify to the 
high standards attained in cooperation and specialization in re- 
search, development and production within the framework of the 
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. As a result, it is possible 
for the countries concerned to reduce their production ranges and 
to manufacture products on the basis of bilateral and multilateral 
inter-governmental agreements for which their countries offer the 
most favourable conditions. It is also possible in this way to intro- 
duce series production at favourable costs. 

The GDR supplies the USSR with machine tools, among other 
things, about 70 per cent of which are manufactured under spe- 
cialization and cooperation agreements. Textile machines, railway 
vehicles, ships, farm machinery and microelectronic components 
produced in the GDR also incorporate a high degree of specializa- 

In turn, the GDR receives from the USSR and the other CMEA 
countries remarkable amounts of industrial goods needed in all 
branches of the national economy for purposes of intensification, 

The national economy 


rationalization and automation. Equipment for nuclear power sta- 
tions and for the metatlu rgical industry, machine tools and excava- 
tors from the Soviet Union, trams, equipment for the heavy 
engineering industry and water management from Czechoslo- 
vaks textile machines, road vehicles and agricultural implements 
from Poland, buses and power station equipment from Hungary, 
fork-lift trucks and construction machinery from Bulgaria and 
electrical engineering and electronics products as well as rail vehi- 
cles from Romania make up a great share of GDR imports from the 
socialist community. 

The GDR imports vital raw materials and fuels from the USSR 
and the other CMEA countries and delivers large amounts of po- 
tash, chemicals and lignite briquettes to them. 

In the period between 1986 and 1990, the GDR will receive from 
the Soviet Union 85.4 million tonnes of mineral oil, 34.5 billion cu- 
bic metres of natural gas, 22.5 million tonnes of hard coal and 
8.5 million tonnes of iron ore. Between 80 and 100 per cent of the 
GDR's import demands for primary materials and sources of en- 
ergy are covered by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Hun- 
garian People's Republic, the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the 
Socialist Republic of Romania and other CMEA countries, as well 
as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the People s Re- 
public of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic 
People's Republic of Korea and Albania. A major part of the above 
mentioned deliveries are the result of joint investment projects, 

In its foreign trade relations with African, Asian and Latin Ameri- 
can countries, the GDR is guided by the principle of equality and 
mutual advantage with a view to supporting the developing coun- 
tries in their efforts to gain economic independence and to raise 
their economic efficiency and potential. 

In the period between 1970 and 1985, the GDR set up more than 
800 industrial complexes in developing countries and another 70 
or so such projects were under construction at the beginning of 

In addition, the GDR gives ever wider scope to the provision of 

122 The national economy 

scientific and technological know how, patents and licences and 
the training of national cadres. In 1985 alone, approximately 
700 specialists were sent by the GDR to work in developing cou n 

tries a n d about 6, 300 peopl e f ro m th ere ca me to th e G D R to atte nd 

technical training courses. Ckd (completely knocked-down) ex- 
| P° rts have seen particularly rapid development. They make it pos- 

sible for the developing countries to set up departments for the 
assembly of industrial products, which complies with the young 
nation states aspirations to develop their own national production 

Overall relations between the GDR and the developing coun- 
tries, especially their economic links, are largely determined by 
the activities of joint government commissions or joint economic 
commissions. These bodies meet regularly to discuss the level of 
economic cooperation, to reach agreement on new projects and 
lend support to the foreign trade organizations and firms of the 
two sides in their work to enhance trade. 

The non -socialist economic region accounts for roughly one 
third of the GDR's foreign trade turnover, which testifies to its 
I strong involvement in the international economic division of la- 
bour that exists between countries with differing social systems. 
Exports to Finland, France, Japan, Austria, the Federal Republic of 
Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden have increased in particular. 
The volume achieved in foreign trade with these states exceeded 
61 billion marks in 1985. 

Despite worsening sales conditions, products from the GDR 
have held their own in the face of strong competition on these 
markets. Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and 
electronics, particularly machine tools, printing presses and tex- 
tile machinery, cranes and mining equipment, chemical plant, 
scientific instruments, products of precision mechanics and op- 
tics, office machines and technical consumer goods as well as a 
broad range of chemical products have for years enjoyed a good 
reputation in capitalist countries. 

The GDR is doing all it can to develop trade with these countries 

The national economy 


in the interests of the policy of peaceful coexistence and for mut- 
ual advantage. The GDR advocates cooperation in foreign trade 
on a long-term, stable and contractual basis, in particular with 
economic circles showing a positive approach to the policy of de- 
tente and economic collaboration. 

international fairs and exhibitions carry great weight for the de- 
velopment of foreign trade. The GDR participates annually in 
some 350 such events abroad. 

Twice a year, early in March and early in September, the GDR 
itself plays host to the international business community at the 
Leipzig Fair, which will celebrate its 825th anniversary in 1990. 
Taking place under the motto "For open world trade and techno- 
logical progress", this old and famous institution caters for the in- 
terests of the world's forces committed to detente and peace. The 
Leipzig Trade Fair takes into account the new trends in economic, 
scientific and technological development, a fact which finds clear 
expression in the branches that are given priority. Apart from mic- 
roelectronics, questions related to the sparing use of materials and 
energy, automation and the upgrading of raw materials for the 
chemical and metallurgical industry, special attention is devoted 
to problems of nutrition, environmental and health protection, as 
well as leisure pursuits and sports. 

Atthe Spring Trade Fair, the emphasis is on major technological 
branches such as iron and steel, heavy engineering and plant con- 
struction, farm machinery, machine tools and scientific instru- 
ments, construction machines, electrical engineering and elec- 
tronics, the whole range of consumer goods branches and 

The Leipzig Autumn Fairs are largely concerned with chemicals 
and chemical plant, printing presses, textile machinery, railway 
waggons, medical and laboratory instruments and equipment, fa- 
cilities for teaching and research, as well as leisure pursuits. A pro- 
gramme of ambitious scientific and technological lectures, con- 
gresses and symposia which lend impetus to commercial dealings 
coincides with the Leipzig Trade Fair. 1 n great demand internation- 


The national economy 

ally are the Gold Medals awarded at the Leipzig Fair for outstand- 
ing products on the basis of strict principles. 


Cooperative farmers and agricultural workers have roughly 
0.37 hectares of farmland available per head of the population to 
meet the demand of the general public for food and of industry for 
agricultural raw materials. 57.5 per cent of the GDR territory is 
farmland and 27.5 per cent is woodland. The country's farmland 
comprises some 6.2 million hectares of which 4.7 million hectares 
are arable land (75.8 per cent). 

The 850, 000 cooperative farmers and agricultural workers 
permanently employed in socialist agriculture display diligence, 
knowledge and skill every day in ensuring stable food supplies for 
the population almost entirely from domestic resources. 

Roughly 4, 300 agricultural production cooperatives (LPG) spe- 
cializing in crop and in livestock production, market gardening 
cooperatives (GPG) and inter-farm complexes in the field of crop 
and livestock production cultivate 87 per cent of the farmland and 
possess 83 per cent of the country's herds of livestock. LPGs ac- 
count for 95 per cent of the crops and 76 per cent of the livestock 
products supplied to the state, this making them the chief produ- 
cers of foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials in the GDR. 

The state farms (VEG) have made a decisive contribution to the 
development of agriculture. State farms specializing in crop pro- 
duction cultivate 7.1 per cent of the GDR's farmland and those 
specializing in livestock production possess 11 per cent of the ani- 
mal herds. They have comprehensive tasks to fulfil as far as the 
breeding of productive varieties and species is concerned. 

At present, the LPGs and VEGs have at their disposal 
148,000tractors, 34,000 lorries, as well as roughly 17,000combine 
harvesters and other farm machinery. 

An important role is played by the subsidiary farming operations 
run by cooperative farmers and agricultural workers and the gar- 

The national economy 

dens of the more than 1.3 motion members of the Association of 
Allotment Gardeners and Small Stock Breeders (VKSK). From 1981 
to 198b, the contribution made by individual producers to overall 
supplies averaged 12,0 per cent for fat stock, 39 per cent for eggs, 
28.8 per cent for fruit, 10.9 per cent for vegetables and 29,1 per 
cent for wool. Rabbit meat and honey is almost exclusively sup- 
plied by small-scale producers. The government guarantees the 
sale of their products at stable prices. 

The resolutions adopted by the SED and the government of the 
GDR in 1982-84 to improve management, planning and cost ac- 
counting, the implementation of the agricultural price reform and 
the introduction of material incentives in LPGs, VEGs, market gar- 
dening cooperatives (GPGs) and Inter-farm complexes were 
geared towards the further implementation of the country's econ- 
omic strategy in keeping with the requirements of agriculture. 
Greater attention will be attached to the efficiency of production 
and the economic interests of agricultural enterprises and cooper- 
ative farmers will be reconciled more fully with overall national 
economic interests. 

The agricultural price reform which came into force in 1984 
brought about more favourable conditions of reproduction for the 
LPGs and VEGs. The reform has the effect that the prices of agri- 
cultural products better reflect actual social input. Farmers' good 
qualities, he, their propensity towards measuring, weighing and 
calculating, can thus be brought into effect more fully in tapping 
hidden reserves with a view to producing more, better and 
cheaper products with the help of existing resources. Reduction of 
unit consumption, particularly of energy and fuel, is a matter of 
special importance to the national economy. 

A solid and stable farm layout has emerged following the streng- 
thening of LPGs and VEGs, both those specializing In crop and in 
livestock farming. As things stand today, LPGs and VEGs work in 
1 F 193inter-farm complexes. They have proceeded to render the 
operation of their inter-farm councils more effective and binding 
with a view to maki ng better use of the soil and i mproving its fertil- 

126 The national economy 

ity as well as raising yields per animal further while ensuring fod- 
der requirements from local resources. Since 1984, the members 
of the IPGs and the workers employed in VEGs have charged their 
inter-farm councils with the fulfilment of management tasks. The 
potential inherent in cooperative property is thus used to a greater 
extent and the integrated reproduction process made more effec- 
tive. In addition, a contribution is made in this way to overcoming 
existing differences in yields at a more rapid pace and creating 
more favourable conditions for the large-scale application of in- 
tensive patterns of development. The legal independence and 
economic responsibility of LPGs and VEGs for running their own 
economic affairs is strengthened through cooperation. Close 
cooperation provides good conditions for the broad introduction 
of the latest s cie ntif re an d tech n o I og ica I f i nd i n g s. Ag ri cu Itu re i s i n - 
creasingly developing into a branch of applied science, with the 
farmers using the latest developments in the field of microelec- 
tronics and biotechnology. 

Life in the countryside 


Constant attention to working and living conditions, provision of 
more and more opportunities for an active intellectual and cultural 
life in attractive villages - these are characteristic features of the 
policy conducted by the socialist state. Cooperative farmers enjoy 
material security and their life is marked by a sense of social be- 
longing. Their income has increased and their standard of living 
has drawn closer to that in the towns. 

Female farmers benefit from extensive social measures nowa- 
days. They are entitled to a baby year and to a 40-hour working 
week if they have two children. Naturally, the allowances and ben- 
efits granted to families with three or more children also apply to 
families in rural areas. 

Great attention is payed to pensioners and to LPG members un- 
able to work. The LPGs share responsibility for ensuring them so- 
cial care. 

The national economy 127 

Farmers' children have access to all educational facilities, in ag- 
riculture, forestry and food processing some 25,000 apprentices 
are trained in 32 trades and occupations annually, i.e. specialists in 
the field of crop and livestock production, soil improvement, farm 
machinery and tractor mechanics, horticulturists, skilled forestry 
workers and skilled meat preparation workers, shepherds and 
others. Approximately 80 per cent of them conclude apprentice- 
ship contracts with an LPG, Apprentices are free to apply for LPG 
membership even during their training. Over 90 per cent of all 
those employed in agriculture have completed some sort of train- 
ing. Roughly 10 per cent of them are university, college or techni- 
cal school graduates. 

The life of people in the countryside has been made easier 
through a number of facilities which they would not want to do 
without: houses of culture, village clubs, kindergartens and 
creches, medical facilities, modern shopping centres and trans- 
port connections with neighbouring localities. Visits to concerts, 
the theatre and museums, participation in amateur art groups, 
reading and the like form part and parcel of village life today. Intel- 
lectual and cultural activities are a real necessity for many people 
in the countryside. It should also be mentioned that the Farmers' 
Mutual Aid Association, the political mass organization of farmers, 
does a great deal of work to enrich the intellectual and cultural 

Environmental protection 

Environmental policy measures are designed to implement two 
tasks which are closely related. On the one hand, it is a matter of 
improving working and living conditions and, on the other, of rais- 
ing efficiency levels in the national economy. 

The economic strategy of the G DR for the period up to the year 
2000 also takes into account the objectives of environmental pro- 
tection. Priority is given to the conversion of raw materials into 
higher-grade products and the reduction of energy, materials and 

128 The national economy 

water consumption in the production sector. In addition, it is a 
matter of promptly implementing a number of projects such as the 
introduction of coherent production and water cycfes and techno- 
logical procedures producing the lowest possible amount of waste 
or none at all. Similarly, it is necessary to make better use of reus- 
able materials and to recover substances from waste products - 
for instance, waste water and household refuse - which would 
otherwise be discharged and pollute the air, water and soil or be 
deposited on tips. 

The proportion of re-used industrial waste has increased from 
20 per cent in the middle of the 1970s to well over 40 per cent to- 
day. In 1935 the raw materials saved for the national economy in 
this way exceeded a value of six billion marks. 

AH these measures brought major advances regarding the ra- 
tional utilization of natural resources, the reduction of air, water 
and soil pollution and the Improvement of environmental condi- 
tions, particularly in industrial conurbations. 

The most important projects to be implemented in the field of 
environmental policy are incorporated in the national economic 
plans. They number between 50 and 60 annually. Their fulfilment 
is strictly monitored by the Council of Ministers of the GDR and 
the advisory council attached to It charged with environmental 
protection. Such projects include, for instance, the construction 
of waste water treatment plant for industrial enterprises as well 
as efficient dust removal plant. 

Reasonable use of the natural resources and active manage- 
ment and protection of the natural environment serve the interests 
of alt people and are unthinkable without citizen initiatives. This is 
why nature conservation in the GDR is regarded as a matter con- 
cerning government authorities, all enterprises and firms, and 
each and every individual. The Environmental Policy Act adopted 
by the People's Chamber of the GDR back in 1954 was the first 
such Act in German history to make the protection of nature 
against harmful influences a matter for all citizens, in the mean- 
time, a large number of laws have been enacted which give the 

The national economy 


population wide scope for active participation and even expect 
them to do so. The most important of these Acts is that adopted in 


Impressive work in the field of environmental protection is done 
by the elected members of local people's assemblies together 
with representatives of the National Front of the GDR, public orga- 
nizations, industrial combines, enterprises and cooperatives. 

Roughly 55,000 people from all walks of life cooperate with 
great commitment in the Nature and Environment Society att- 
ached to the League of Culture of the GDR. The focus of thei r activ- 
ities is on effective environmental management, landscape culti- 
vation, rational use, protection and improvement of the soil, 
forests and water as well as the study and protection of flora and 
fauna. In addition, the Society sees to itthat by-products and waste 
materials are re-used more effectively. 

The GDR promotes and supports international cooperation and 
is actively involved in the work of many organizations and various 
environmental schemes. 

In tackling environmental tasks, the GDR works closely together 
with the USSR and other socialist countries within the framework 
of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The GDR is help- 
ing resolve 14 comprehensive problems under an agreement con- 
cluded by the CMEA member countries on measures to protect 
nature and through the large-scale programme of cooperation in 
environmental protection and managementand in making rational 
use of natural resources. This applies, above all, to water control, 
protection of the atmosphere, ecological systems and the land- 
scape and the development of low-waste and waste-free tech- 

In the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act, the GDR advocates active 
cooperation with the non-socialist states. An expression of this is 
its great commitment in helping implement the convention on the 
protection of the maritime environment in the Baltic Sea area 
which was signed in 1974, The same holds true of the GDR's bila- 
teral cooperation with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and 

130 The national economy 

Austria which is developing to mutual advantage. Recently, practi- 
cal steps have also been taken together with the Federal Republic 
of Germany and West Berlin. 

As a member of the United Nations Organization and a number 
of its specialized agencies, the GDR has good opportunities to be 
actively involved in the solution of global and regional environ- 
mental problems. It attaches special importance to implementing 
UNEP projects and the "Man and Biosphere" programme of 

The focus of the GDR's cooperation in the ECE Ison activities to 
introduce low-waste and waste-free techniques and processes 
and measures to reduce the transboundary transportation of air 
pollutants. An important foundation of all these measures and ac- 
tivities are the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pol- 
lution adopted by the ECE countries at the All-European Environ- 
mental Congress held in Geneva In November 1979 as well as the 
Declaration on Low-Waste and Non-Waste Technologies and the 
Reutilization and Recycling of Wastes. Furthermore, the GDR de- 
votes great attention to the work of the senior advisers to ECE gov 
ernments on environmental problems. 

Since October 1977 ten-month courses dealing with the ma^ 
nagement and planning of ecological systems have been run at 
Dresden's Technical University in collaboration with UNEP and 
UNESCO for leading officials from developing countries in Asia, 
Africa and Latin America. 

National Income 

(million marks at comparable prices, 

# in the Schwarze Pumpe combine, the successful trial run of a new gasifi- 
cation technique marked the end of a major stage an the way towards 
producing synthesis gas from coa! with a high salt content. The new 
technique makes it possible to ensure the full extraction of all useful lig- 
nite constituents in future, 

• In the oil processing industry, the proportion of light products - which 
lay at a level of just under 50 per cent in 1980 - has increased continu- 
ally. In the Wafter UJbricht Leu na-Werk-e complex, a large p : .anf came on 
stream which makes it possible fo-rthe : time now to process a LI -of the. 
oil feedstocks into light products. The same quantity of oil can now be 
cob verted into twice as much fuel and '3, 3: -times the' former amount of 

L feedstocks suitable for further processing. In 1990, light products wilt 
account for 75 per cent of afl products obtained by p roc e.s-s i.hg, oil in the 

Machinery incorporating microelectronics components as a percentage 
share of overall machinery output 

National income = gross national product - production input it repres- 
ents, the new value created through productive .work, The accumulation 
and consumption funds are fed from this net income. 

Plastics and elastomere processing plant 
Cuttingtype machine tools 
Printing presses 
Textile machines 

Labour productivity in the national economy (1970 = 100} 
1975 1980 

Robots employed in industry 

Fixed assets of the national economy 

(million marks at 1980 prices) 

The GDR is one of the world's countries which are in a position to manu- 
facture microelectronics components and LSI circuits. 

Steps will be taken to ensure that by 1990 the existing range of integrated 
circuits is expanded by means of VLSI circuits. The output of active elec- 
tronic components will be raised by over 26 per cent annually and that of 
'passive components by 12 per cent. Scientific and technological research 
..will focus on the development of 16-bit and 32-bit microprocessors, optoe- 
lectronic components for fibre-optics communications systems, sensors 
and effectors on a microelectronic, optoelectronic and micromechanical 
;ba$is, colour display tubes, and discrete components. The products manu- 
factured in 1985 paved the way for the manufacture of a 1 megabit mem 
dry. The next generation, which was tackled in preparation for the 11th 
Party Congress, will meet the demands of the components industry on an 
advanced international level in the early 1990s. The aim is to manufacture 
the equipment needed for a 4-megab3t memory. 

Investments, total 
(million marks at 1985 prices) 


fn industry 


Utilization of highly productive machinery in industry 

(hours per day) 

innovators movement 

Innovators (millions) 

Annual financial benefits accruing from the application of innovations (mil- 1 

Non marks) 

1370 1930 1985 

2,500 4,500 5,900 

• The metallurgical industry is currently in a state of complete transition to | 
the production of high-value products. The main focus of efforts in this 
context Is .the Ernst Th&fmann converter steel works, the most sophist!- ^ 
cated of its kind in Europe, which is attached to the Eisenhuttenkombinat 
Gst The wide- strip hot rolling line which Is being set up together with 
the Soviet Union will close the full metallurgical cycle from the smelting ; 
of ore to the manufacture of high-value sheets and strips. By 1990, pro | 
ducts with a high added- value content will account for 90 per cent of to I 
fa) output in this branch. 

• At the 1986 Leipzig Spring Trade Fair, the Berlin-based parent plant of 1 
the 7. Oktober machine too! combine presented a new state-of-the-art J 
product, a microelectronicalfy controlled spur-gear grinding machine 
of the generating type. This control unit obviates the need for TOBQdiT j 
ferent conrtpon ents requiring half a tonne of steel a nd half a ton ne of cast 1 
iron as well as 400 man-hoursfortheir manufacture. The machine incor 
po rates a higher degree of automation; which not only results in greater | 
benefits for the producer but also in considerable savings of time, en- ? 
ergy and costs for the users. 


• The transport sector hauls roughly a billion tonnes of freight annually. 

• The railways are the chief transporter within the country. They account 
for almost four fifths of overall transport services; Thanks to the shifting 

of freight transport from road to rail, they handled approximately 33 mil- 
lion tonnes more in 1985 than in 1981. 

• The GDft has a railway network of 14,226 kilometres, over 2, 600 kilome- 
tres of which had been electrified by the end of 1935, 

# About 38 per cent of the GDR's railway services are now carried out by 
electrical traction as against 20 per cent in 1981. 

Foreign trade turnover (million marks) 

Export and import [million marks) 


Yields of selected crops 

(Tonnes per hectare) 

1971/75 1976/80 1981/85 

i-Grain . ' V ; 

V Wheat 

‘Ol I -bearing crops 


Sugar beet 


(Head per 100 hectares of agricultural land} 

Laying hens 

Animal production yields 

13 8* 

MHk per cow (3:5% fat, kg) 
Eggs per hen 
Honey per colony (kg) 
Wool per sheep (kg) 

* 1984 

Stralsund shipyard specializes in the construction of fishing ves 

Microelectronics ranks amongst the newest industries. Central Re 
search and Technology Institute in Dresden, (above) 

New production line for metafs used in microelectronics, (below) 

Electric locomotives being fitted out at Hennigsdorf. 

Bfpv . & 

■ ' r I- 


Robots installed at valves and fittings works in Magdeburg, (above) 

Sassnitz ferry terminal, (below) 

Hettstedt rolling mill, (right) 


Comparing notes with Soviet partners at Sangerhausen potash 
works (above left) 

Derma cement works, Erfurt county. The GDR installs plant of th: 
kind in many countries throughout the world, (below) 

Highly productive plant from Czechoslovakia and Poland has proven 
successful in the GDR textile industry, (above) 

Equipment produced by the TAKRAF combine in use at the Aghios Di 
mitrios lignite-fired power station in Greece. 

Ships of the GDR merchant fleet travel all the world's oceans. M.v 
Erlenburg berthed in Santos, Brazil. 

This lathe factory in Karl Marx Stadt has supplied over 7,000 machine 
tools to the Soviet Union. 

View of the GDR section of the gas pipeline from Urengoi to Uzh- 
gorod in the USSR. 

- fm 

M'-' jVfJ i: : .:rT*;ik 

. - ti . ^ : eH" "i*: 1 ’■ T 

■; ;/4|’ HI-- : T : ' = , 


T , .J&r 

jpmT T 

i -Aa t 

a, “X& ’l 


Young Africans receiving job training in the GDR. (above) 

FDJ friendship brigade in Ethiopia, (below) 

Representatives of commercial organizations from all over the world 
meet every year at the Leipzig Trade Fair, (right) 

FDJ members working on a central youth project in the orchards 
around the river Havel, 

High yields from cooperative farms mean that the GDR is self-suffi- 
cient in food. 

Shopping centre in Dedelow, Neubrandenburg county, (below) 

The old linden tree in the village of Effelder, Thuringia, is a favourite 
meeting place, (right) 

Fertilizer Research Institute in Potsdam, (overleaf) 








aattik [j iifeia \i ■ 

Social policy 

For one and a half decades now the material, intellectual and Guttu- 
ral standard of living of the GDR people has been undergoing a 
considerable improvement which is ensured by a high rate of de- 
velopment in production, science and technology. 

The fact that the working people's achievements are making tor 
an ever better life and growing well-being has come to be the hall- 
mark of the GDR's internal development. The success of all mea- 
sures taken in the economic, scientific and technological fields is 
judged by the benefit they bring for the general public. 

The results achieved in the economic sector are being used to 
improve housing conditions, ensure health protection and medi- 
cal care in the case of illness, as well as material security in old 
age. They help bring about improvements in the field of recreation 
and meet the need for meaningful leisure. Special attention is 
payed to the family, mother and child. Not least, improving econ- 
omic performance makes it possible to widen the range and im- 
prove the quality of goods provided for the consumer market. The 
11th Congress of the SED held in April 1986 decided to carry on 
with the policy of translating economic achievements into social 

154 Social policy 

The housing problem: 
focus of social policies 

Housing ranks prominently among the GDR people's basic needs. 
Every family should be provided with a heated, adequately sized 
flat equipped with the necessary sanitary facilities. An adequately 
sized home is generally conceived as one in which all family mem- 
bers have a room of their own. And this is exactly what the GDR's 
housing programme designed to be realised by 1 990 is aft about. 

Solving the housing problem has been the main concern of so- 
cial policies since 1971. Henceforth, housing conditions have 
been steadily improved. Every working day, some 1,000families 
and single persons move into a new or modernized home. Consid- 
ering that the GDR's total population is 16.7 million it is evident 
that hardly any other country is carrying out such an extensive 
housing programme. 

The housing programme consists of housing construction, 
modernization and restoration. 

New housing construction increasestheexisting housing stock 
which is particularly necessary in a number of major cities such as 
Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden, 

The modernization of old homes involves the provision of a 
bathroomorshowerand WC, the fitting of new stoves, the installa- 
tion of gas or central heating, rewiring and the rehabilitation of 
basements, roofs and floors* 

Restoration is carried out on a small scale, the aim being to rec- 
over housing stock which was not fit for inhabitation but is worth 
the effort of rehabilitation. The expenditure is justifiable if it does 
not exceed 60 per cent of the costs of constructing a new building. 
Restoration work is focussed on buildings which are on the list of 
protected monuments or are of cultural and historical value. A ne- 
cessary supplement to the housing programme is extensive work 
to repair damage to residential buildings and maintain the housing 

Housing construction in the GDR has assumed a completely 

Social policy 155 

new dimension over the years. This becomes evident if one draws 
a comparison between previous years. Back in the 1950s, at a time 
when the going was tough what with an industrial sector largely 
destroyed during the war and ill-proportioned due to the division 
of Germany, a total of 30,000dwellings were built or rebuilt annu- 
ally. This figure was gradually doubled during the following de- 
cade and rose to 76,000 by 1970, of which 65,800 were newly built 
homes. Some 813,00Gdwellings were newly built or modernized 
between 1976 and 1980 and 990,000 between 1981 85* 

All in all some 2.4 million homes were newly built or moder- 
nized between 1971-85. This has meant an improvement in hous- 
ing conditions for 7.2 million people or 43 per cent of the GDR's 
population. The state made available over 260 billion marks for 
this purpose. For the period 1986-90 more than one million dwell- i 

mgs are due to be built or modernized. These figures express in 
the clearest terms that the policy of putting people's needs first is 
being consistently implemented. 

As we forge ahead with the long-term housing programme a 
change has become discernible in the proportion of homes newly 
built compared with those modernized. In the 1970s the priority 
was to enlarge the housing stock by constructing new homes. 

Whereas, during this period, 75 per cent of all homes provided 
were newly built the 1981-85 five-year plan period saw this de- 
crease to 60 per cent with the other 40 per cent being due to mod- 
ernization. This trend will continue in the future. This is necessary 
because in many cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Halle and 
Karl-Marx-Stadt there are districts where the whole housing stock, 
which consists of tenement houses built for working-class fami- 
lies, dates back to the period before the First World War (1914-18) 
and in some cases to before the turn of the century. 

Decent housing conditions find their reflection not only in the 
number of newly built and modernized homes butalso in the great 
many public and community facilities necessary to make life in old 
and new residential areas as pleasant as possible. 

New residential areas are emerging complete with shopping fa- 

156 Social policy 

cilitles, creches and kindergartens, schools and gymnasiums, play 
and sports grounds, service centres, health centres, restaurants, 
swimming pools and old people's homes. 

This demonstrates that housing construction in the GDR implies 
far more than the mere provision of adequate living space. The 
aim is to improve not just housing conditions but living conditions 
as well. 

it goes without saying that implementing a housing programme 
of such proportions involves a multitude of problems that need to 
be solved. Old and new buildings need to be blended in with each 
other. Green spaces need to be preserved and new ones created. 
When construction work is being done in residential areas it is ne- 
cessary to keep disruptive factors to a minimum be It noise, dust, 
stores of building materials or traffic diversions. At the same time 
construction work is carried out as economically and rationally as 

Industrial construction needs to be mastered more effectively in 
both architectural and technological terms even under the com- 
plex conditions arising from building in small inner-city areas. The 
aim has always been to find rational solutions which are accept- 
able from the point of view of urban development, especially by 
combining the construction of new buildings with modernization 
and preservation as well as the establishment of new urban dis- 
tricts. It required the efforts of the entire national economy to set 
up efficient construction combines specializing in civil and struc- 
tural engineering and the modernization of dwellings. Pre fab 
plant had to be expanded, new and more efficient operations for 
the manufacture of concrete slabs had to be set up, their produc- 
tion being focussed on both large segments for blocks of new 
houses as well as smaller ones to be used for various purposes in 
inner-city construction. 

The construction of owner-occupied houses is typical in rural 
areas. It is in this way that the wish of many people for a house 
and garden of their own is met. Moreover, this form of construc- 
tion is welcome to the state, for it relieves to a certain de- 

Social policy 


gree the burden on nationally owned housing construction com- 
bines. Those who build a house of their own do a lot of the work 
involved themselves. They may avail themselves of the construc- 
tion equipment at their cooperative farm and receive the help of 
their work mates. These houses may be built either on private es- 
tates or on land leased by the town or village for a period of 99 ye- 
ars. To cover the cost of construction state credits are available at 
favourable interest rates to be paid back on a long-term basis. The 
monthly sum to be paid for the lease of the land, for interest and 
for credit repayments is generally about the same as that for hous- 
ing rent. At present 12,000owner-occupied houses are built a 
year, with 89,078 being built between 1981 and 1985 

The most important consideration in tackling the housing prob- 
lem is not money but rather the social aspect. There is no chance 
to speculate on the housing market in the GDR, the homes avail- 
able being allocated under public control and in line with certain 

Two thirds of ail new homes have been given to workers' fami- 
lies; every fourth newly built home was allocated to a young mar 
ried couple with every tenth going to a family with four and more 

An aspect of the housing construction programme which is of 
particular social relevance are the low rents which have been kept 
stable ever since the GDR was founded. Rent accounts for less 
than three per cent of the family income in the households of pro- 
duction and office workers. 

Certain differences in rents are due to the location of homes 
(rents for dwellings in smaller towns being somewhat lower than 
in big cities) and differences in the provision of mod cons (central, 
gas and stove heating, hot water). The rent for one square metre of 
living space in a newly built home costs between 0.80 and 
1.25 marks, which Is about one third of the actual sum necessary 
for maintenance. Two thirds of the costs of repairs, maintenance 
and administration are paid from the public purse. 

158 Social policy 

Jobs for everyone 

The basis of a secure and meaningful life is a guaranteed and 
worthwhile job. The right to work Is enshrined in the Constitution 
of the GDR. It entails job security, the right to equal pay for equal 
work, as well as full protection against unfair dismissal. It guaran- 
tees the working people economic security in the event of illness 
and disability or in old age, at the same time promoting their all- 
round involvement in planning and administrative affairs at their 

For new scientific and technological findings to have the quick- 
est possible economic effect it is necessary to carry out extensive 
rationalization measures at the nationally owned enterprises. This 
requires enterprises to release workers for other parts of the econ- 
omy. The people in question will not be unemployed but rather 
given a different job in their own enterprise or, alternatively, at a 
completely different one. This change of job and the subsequent 
necessary retraining does not bring any financial or other social 
disadvantages with it for the working people. Rationalization, ro 
bots and computers are no job killers in this case. 

Released manpower is urgently needed especially in the service 
sector, in the field of health care and social welfare, in the trade 
sector and in other spheres such as microelectronics, the manu- 
facture of rationalization equipment and consumer goods produc- 
tion. Rationalization does not have an adverse effect on working 
conditions but rather goes hand in hand with their systematic im- 
provement. in 1985 a total of more than 240,000 workplaces were 
redesigned inline with the latest scientific findings. Between 1985 
and 1990, another 1.2 to T3 million workplaces wiff be improved 
in terms of the contents and conditions of work. Undue strain at 
work will be eliminated for 440,000 to 450,000 employees. Enter 
prise trade union committees make their impact felt when it comes 
to the settlement of all social and labour issues involved with so- 
cialist rationalization. 

For all the 2.9 million young people between the ages of 14 and 

Social policy 159 

25 it is a matter of course to be trained for a job and receive a con- 
tract of employment after their apprenticeship has come to an 
end. They then have 300 trades to choose from, which offers them 
an opportunity to attune their personal wishes to the needs of so- 

In similar fashion, those who leave school with the Abitur after 
completing grade 12 are certain of being admitted to a course of 
higher education. Having completed their studies successfully all 
of them get employment in line with their qualification. The right 
to work, to develop one's personality and to participate in social 
affairs applies without exception. 

Promotion of families and working women 

The state bestows extensive care upon working women and fami- 
lies. Over 90 per cent of women of working age have a job. Their 
qualification receives special attention. There exist women's 
promotion schemes at all enterprises. Women form the bulk of the 
workforce in the trade, health and service sectors, in kindergart- 
ens and creches, and in the education system. As far as material 
production is concerned the women working there (40 per cent of 
the total workforce) cope perfectly well with the transition from 
traditional manufacturing techniques to state-of-the-art technol- 
ogy. In the GDR there is absolute protection against dismissal dur- 
ing pregnancy. 

Women are granted 26 weeks' maternity leave while receiving 
their full net average wage. In connection with childbirth women 
receive an allowance to the tune of 1,000marks. When the first 
child is born working women are entitled to statutory paid leave 
for up to one year to look after their infant at home. For the third 
and every further child they are granted child-care leave of up to 
18 months. That means full exemption from work with 70 to 90 per 
cent of their net earnings. Their job is reserved for them whatever. 
Mothers working a full working day who have two or more child- 
ren up to the age of 16 work just 40 hours a week without any wage 

160 Social policy 

reductions. All working mothers with two children are able to take 
paid leave to care for their sick children. 

The basic holiday for mothers working full time with several 
children is between 20 and 23 working days. If they work in shifts 
they receive up to 10 additional days. 

Women working full-time with a household of their own are 
granted one paid day off per month to do work around the house, 
providing they are either married, have children younger than 
IS living in their household or have dependents in need of atten- 

Of no little importance in ensuring women the opportunity to 
take advantage of their right to work is the fact that all children be- 
tween the ages of three and six can be provided with a place in a 
kindergarten and that for 73 per cent of all children up to the age 
of three a place in a creche is available. All expenses involved are 
paid by the state, except for a token financial contribution parents 
have to pay for food. 

The encouragement given to families is a major social aspect 
serving the interests of working women. Young married couples 
(age limit 30 years) are granted interest-free loans to the tune of 
7 r 000 marks, which are repayable within eleven years. When the 
first child is born, 1,000marks are waived, another 1,500markson 
the birth of the second and a further 2,500 marks upon the birth of 
the third child. 

Families with severely handicapped children are given special 
assistance in addition to medical care. The mothers of such child- 
ren are able to work reduced hours while being paid their full 
wages, they receive extra holidays and a financial allowance in the 
case of the child falling ill. 

Families with three or more children are given preferential treat- 
ment by allocating them larger homes with all the mod cons. Be- 
tween 1 976 and 1985 70,000 large fa mi I ies moved i nto a newly built 
fiat or an owner-occupied house. In addition, such families re- 
ceive rent allowances, they can take advantage of free laundering 
services and state allowances for the purchase of clothes and fur 

Social policy 


niture, as well as package tours to holiday resorts free of charge or 
at reduced prices. They are sent on courses of spa treatment, pay 
lower prices for tickets at all cultural facilities and receive school 
meals and milk free of charge. 

As of 1 May 1987, family allowances will be increased substan- 
tially: for the first child they will be raised from 20 marks to 
50 marks per month, for the second child from 20 to 100 marks, 
and for the third and all further children from 100 to 150 marks. 

Increasing income- 
greater purchasing power 

Raising people's monetary income is and will continue to be the 
main way of improving the material standard of living. The net 
monetary income of the G DR people grows by four per cent every 
year, which is mainly due to pay rises. Wages and salaries have 
increased by 78 per cent between 1970 and 1985, and will keep 
growing by an average of four per cent every year until 1990. 

Pay rises are performance-based and depend first and foremost 
on rises in productivity (productivity- based wages). Rises in pro 
ductivity which are brought about through the introduction of new 
scientific and technological findings lead to wage increases if the 
worker can master these processes by drawing on his qualification 
and work experiences. This is usually possible because skilled 
workers are highly trained and have the chance to undergo further 

The income earned by supervisors, engineers and other mana- 
gerial personnel partially depends on the performances achieved 
in their sphere of competence. Those involved in R & D and de- 
signing receive allowances in addition to their salary if they solve a 
given task within a certain time. Moreover, all working people 
may get performance-based bonusses. Ail these stipulations are 
laid down in union agreements or skeleton union agreements. 

People's income includes apart form the earned income (or pen- 
sions and students' grants) a wide range of benefits which the state 

162 Social policy 

offers to all citizens and which raise their real income substan- 
tially. For example: 

Prices: Staple goods account for some 80 per cent of the retail 
trade turnover in the GDR. Prices for these goods have been 
pegged for years on end. As far as the other 20 per cent are con 
eemed prices are determined by demand and supply. 

Everyday staple goods such as bread, meat, butter, milk, eggs, 
potatoes, fruit and vegetables are subsidized by the state. The 
same goes for fares on public transport as well as electricity, gas 
and coal for households. A total of 46.2 billion marks have been 
earmarked for the maintenance of low prices and fares from the 
1986 state budget. For example, the price of a bus or tram ticket 
has not changed since the GDR came into existence, costing 
20 pfennigs (0,20 marks) in the big cities. Train fares for jour- 
neys within the country have also remained unchanged. The 
normal fare per kilometre on passenger trains is 11.6 pfennigs in 
the first class, and 8 pfennigs in the tourist class. 

When it comes to attractive, high-quality durables that are new- 
comers on the market, for example, stereo cassette recorders, co 
lour TV sets, household chemical goods, cosmetics and fashion 
able clothes, their prices are calculated along new lines, in 
accordance with their improved quality. Prices are fixed by the 
Price Board of the GDR Council of Ministers. One of the alms of 
economic policy is to widen the range of high-quality goods and to 
ensure a good and stable supply of staple goods. 

The state ploughs substantial resources into school education, 
vocational training and adult education. The expenditure arising 
for the fami ly from the education and training of its children is low, 
with school education, vocational training and higher education 
being free of charge. 

Students in grades 11 and 12 receive a monthly grant of 1 1Q and 
150 marks respectively. 

All full-time students receive a grant composed of a uniform ba- 
sic grant of 200 marks a month plus various kinds of benefits paid 
according to achievement or social need. Female students, like all 

Social policy 163 

other women, are entitled to paid child-care leave after the birth of 
their baby and need not give up their studies. 

Lu nch at the refectory costs between 60 pfen nigs and one mark. 
Entrance to cultural facilities is reduced by 50 per cent and libra- 
ries, sports facilities etc. are free of charge. A place at a students' 
hostel costs 10 marks per month. 

As far as apprentices are concerned, a!! issues pertaining to la- 
bour law are laid down in the GDR's Labour Code, Haifa year be- 
fore the end of training firms conclude contracts of employment 
with their trainees. Depending on the branch of the economy, all 
apprentices are paid a monthly sum ranging from 120 marks dur- 
ing the first to 220 marks during the last six months of training. Ap- 
prentices, like ail working people, are subject to social insurance 
cover. They are entitled to comprehensive medical care. They are 
granted 24 working days' basic holidays. At the apprentices' hos- 
tel they are charged 1.10 marks per day for food and accomoda- 
tion. Apprentices are granted a 75 per cent reduction on public 

A sense of belonging in old age 

Elderly people in particular appreciate the climate of security pre- 
vailing in the GDR, They are taken care of by their families, the 
state and their former firms who include them in their social activi- 
ties and see to their well-being. Every fifth or sixth GDR citizen is of 
pensionable age. 

All working people who pay social insurance contributions of up 
to 60 marks monthly are entitled to free medical care and at the 
same time an old-age pension. 

Pensions have been raised on five occasions since 1970, but still 
pensioners belong to the low-income group. Statutory minimum 
pensions which are paid to all former working people and social 
insurance pensions for those who never had a contract of employ- 
ment make sure that everyone can afford enough to eat, buy clo- 
thing and pay the rent, electricity etc. 

164 Social policy 

The average old-age pension which production and office 
workers are entitled to from social insurance and voluntary sup- 
plementary insurance presently amounts to 471 marks. 

Pensioners do not pay any taxes, no health insurance contribu- 
tions, no radio and TV fees. They can have a low-priced hot lunch 
at the facilities of the Volkssoiidaritat, a senior citizens' organiza- 
tion. Permanent home-helps assist elderly people to keep their 
own household in order. 

At present, over 167, OOOplaces are available in old people's and 
nursing homes. However, this is not yet enough to meet the de- 
mand, That is why an additional 3,000 to 4, OOOplaces are created 
every year, most of them in double-bed rooms. The pensioners 
pay only about 30 per cent of the current average pension for full 
board and lodging as well as care. 

These major sociopolitical achievements have come to be part 
and parcel of the GDR people's quality of life. Everybody knows 
that good work pays for each individual and that economic 
achievements are translated into benefits for the people. This in 
turn becomes a strong motivating force for all working people. 





Dwellings built 


Social oolic 

Housing construction 

Dwellings modernized 


1971-1975 95^ 




Care far the family 

• Between 1972 and 1985 M million interest-free loans with a total volume 
of 6.5 billion marks were granted to young married couples. Of these 
1.7 billion marks were waived on childbirth . 

• Some 2.5 million hot lunches are provided daily at kindergartens and 
schools. A school meal costs 55 pfennigs. 

• Since July 1985 all children -and youths, be they pupils at secondary 
school, apprentices or students, pay 50 per cent of the normal fare on 

. inland railways; children up to the age of six travel free of charge. 

Dwellings completed 

1986-1990 (projected) 

2.4- million 1 million 

Average living space per newly built dwelling 1970 - 56 square metres; 
since 1981 - 63 square metres 

Housing conditions improved for 7.2 million people between 1971 and 


• Some 345,200 girls and boys/ which is about 75 per cent of the child* 

• ren up to three, are currently being looked after in crdches. 

• There are more than 7,400 creches in the GDR. 

• Parents pay up to 1.40 marks per day and 22 to 25 marks per month. 

• The state provides a monthly sum of 350 marks for every creche 


• . • - ' ■ ■ ■ - 1 - TTVT. • 

All children whose parents so wish may attend a kindergarten. Some one 
million children, i,e. 93 per cent, spend their day in a kindergarten, being 
looked after by more than 85,000 kindergarten teachers or assistants 

• A total of 866,252places in kindergartens were available in 1985. 

• More than 100,000 places in kindergartens were created between 1980 
and 1985. 

• Parents pay 35 pfennigs a day for a child's lunch 

Construction of owner-occupied houses; 

More than 16 1,000 owner-occupied houses were built in the GDR between 
1971 and 1985, of which some 68 per cent are inhabited by workers' fami- 
lies and families of cooperative farmers. Large families occupy 18 per cent 
of these homes and young married couples some 25 per cent. The con- 
struction of owner-occupied homes accounts for an average 12 per cent of 
housing construction at large. 

• Between 1981 and 1985 a total of 1,1 83,000 work stations have been rede- 
signed in line with the principles of scientific labour organization. Dur- 
ing that period physical strains and health hazards were eliminated or 
reduced for some 341,7Q0employees. 

Care for the elderly 

• A total of 2.8 million GDR people, he. nearly 17 per cent of the popula- 
tion, are of pensionable age 

• Between 1971 and 1985 pensions have been increased on five occa 

• The annual sum earmarked for pensions rose from 9.7 billion marks in 
1970 to 17,4 billion marks In 1985. 

• More than 78, 000 elderly people, that is five times as many as in 1971, 
were taken care of by home-helps in 1985. An annual 120 million marks 
are allocated for this purpose from the public purse. 

• The Volkssol Ida rltat provides a hot lunch every day for more than 
195,000senior citizens; over 58,00G$eniors in need of attention are ca 
tered for by meals on wheels. 

• Members of the Volkssolidaritat work a total of some 29 million hours a 
year as part of the good-neighbour scheme. 

Average monthly net Income of a production or office worker's house- 
hold {in marks} 

1,600 and more 

• Real income per capita doubled between 1970 end 1985. 

• Net monetary income per capita rose by 83 per cent during the same 

• Stable consumer prices for the basic commodities, rents, fares and ser 
vice charges are essential to the growth of real income. For more than 


25 years now people have been paying the same prices for meat/ butter, 
sausage, milk, bread and other basic foodstuffs as well as for heating and 
electricity, transport services and a great many consumer durables. In 
1985, purchases of foodstuffs to the tune of 100 marks were subsidized 
by an additional 78 marks from the public purse. 

•” Jr. 

The housing question is to be solved as a problem of social relevance 
by 1990. 

New owner-occupied homes in Cottbus county, (above) 
Modernization work on the old market place in Cottbus, (below) 

rrrr<4 * 


in their spare time, work teams often meet together with their entire 
families, (above) 

Social club of the Schwarze Pumpe gasworks in Hoyerswerda. (be- 

Youth fashion deportment in a Berlin department store. 

A meal at the works canteen, here at the Oberspree cable works in 
Berlin, costs between 0.70 and 2.00 marks. 

There are special government provisions to take care of mothers and 

Children's playgrounds form an integral part of new housing es- 
tates . 

An organization known as Volkssolidaritat works actively with senior 
citizens, organizing entertainment and pastimes among many other 

Every year, three to four thousand senior citizens receive accommo- 
dation in newly erected homes. 

9 j mm 

I-.- fir !’* 

taJm r J,1 

1 — # i 


The GDR has an integrated socialist education system which is 
state-run, secular in nature and open to all free oi charge. Educa- 
tion and training are provided on a scientific basis and in complete 
harmony with our social objectives and the people's interests. The 
close cooperation between the educational facilities on the one 
hand and the parents, the youth organization, enterprises and in- 
stitutions and the up-and-coming generation on the other is typi- 
cal. Our educational system provides all boys and girls in town and 
country as well as the children of the Sorbs, a national minority 
living in the GDR, with equal educational opportunities. There are 
special schools and job training facilities where children and 
young people with physical or mental handicaps are prepared for 
life and work according to the severity of their disablement. 

Our education system has a fully integrated structure, thus al- 
lowing everyone to proceed smoothly from one stage to the next. 
Attendance is free of charge and guaranteed by providing allow- 
ances, apprentice pay, grants, free teaching aids and special so- 
cio-political measures for pupils, apprentices and students as well 
as for children from large families. 

The fundamental components of the integrated socialist educa- 
tion system are p re- school facilities, the ten -year general poly- 
technical school, vocational training, advanced level education, 
engineering and technical schools, universities and colleges and 
adult education schemes. 

178 Education 

Pre-school education 

Pre-school education facilities comprise creches for children up 
to three years old and kindergartens for children from three to six 
when they start school. The pre-school facilities bear a great re- 
sponsibility for the children's all-round education and develop- 
ment. They should be an enjoyable experience. It is their task to 
ensure the harmonious physical and mental development of their 
charges, which includes to teach them to respect their parents and 
the achievements of the working people and to stimulate such hab- 
its and traits of character as readiness to help, modesty, love of 
truth and order as well as to motivate and enable the children to 
become useful members of their group. 

Special emphasis is placed on maintaining the children's physi- 
cal well-being and a healthy way of life. To this end the daily and 
weekly schedule in creches and kindergartens must be conducive 
to the children's health and development including outdoor sports 
and games. In 1985 a new education programme for kindergartens 
was introduced which corresponds to advanced practical experi- 
ences as well as new social requirements and scientific findings. 

Creche and kindergarten attendance is free of charge. All pre- 
school facilities are heavily subsidized by the state. Pre-school es- 
tablishments maintain close contacts with the parents. En the kind- 
ergartens there exist elected parents' representatives which help 
to stimulate this trusting cooperation. The guiding principle in this 
respect is that the development of pre-school children is most fa- 
vourably influenced if they are educated both within the family 
and in the kindergarten. 

Kindergarten teachers are trained in three-year training courses 
at one of the country's 19 teacher training colleges after comple- 
tion of their ten-year secondary education. 

Education 179 

The ten-year general polytechnical school 

Attendance at the ten-year general polytechnical school is com- 
pulsory. This school provides children with a sound general scien- 
tific education and lays the foundation for the development of all- 
round personalities and for the acquisition of higher standards of 
education. A major feature of the ten -year school is its polytechni- 
cal character which covers all aspects of the education process. It 
is marked by a high level of general scientific education, polytech - 
nical education as an integrated part, indivisibility of school and 
life and of theory and practice. Expanding the school's polytechni- 
cal nature presupposes the striving for a hfgh degree of knowl- 
edge in all subjects, practice-oriented lessons and the deveiop- 
ment of the children's creative skills, character traits and behav- 
iour. Within educational work special importance is attached to 
international solidarity and peace education. 

in the ten-year general polytechnical school teaching is based 
on standard compulsory curricula with the educational content be 
ing constantly developed. Between 1980 and 1985 45 new or re 
vised curricula and the respective textbooks were introduced. 
Plans are for a completely new set of curricula by the end of the 
eighties. This will serve to ensure that educational standards meet 
the increased demands resulting from social, scientific and tech- 
nological development. 

The content of the individual subjects as stipulated in state curri- 
cula serves all-round education and development. 

Ten-year schooling guarantees an integrated process of train- 
ing and education from the first to the tenth grade, it is subdivided 
>nto three levels: the lower level comprising grades 1 to 3, the in- 
termediate level with grades 4 to 6 and the upper level with grades 
7 to 10. 

In the tower grades, pupils are taught basic skills in reading, 
writing and mathematics. They take part in sports and are taught 
en understanding of natural and social phenomena. 83 per cent of 
ail pupils in grades 1 to 4 spend the whole day at school, attending 

130 Education 

the after-school centre in the afternoon when lessons are over 
There they do their homework, handicrafts, play games and 
sports, ail under qualified supervision. 

In the intermediate grades, pupils are introduced to the natural 
and social sciences as well as foreign languages, the number of 
lessons being gradually increased In the upper grades. They are 
familiarised with the fundamental laws and essential phenomena 
of society, the sciences, art, culture, economy and technology, 
They learn different approaches to work which help them to 
widen, consolidate and apply their knowledge and skills off their 
own back. 

In grade 5 Russian, the first foreign language, is introduced for 
all and in grade 7 a second foreign language (English, French, at 
some schools also Spanish, Czech or Polish) is taught on an op- 
tional basis. 3n grades 1 to 6 there are specific subjects for poly- 
technical education (industrial arts and gardening). 

In the upper grades the subjects "technical drawing" and "intro- 
duction to socialist production" are introduced. From the 7th 
grade onwards, pupils work one day per week in a nationally- 
owned enterprise. Socialist enterprises have become educational 
institutions where pupils are trained in productive activities and 
experience in practice what high value attaches to reliable and ex- 
act work and high performance. This helps them to establish var- 
ied contacts with the workforce and the work and to gain new 

Thus, in more than 5,000 enterprises workers and cooperative 
farmers have a direct influence on the education of the younger 
generation. In their productive work the one million pupils or so of 
grades 7 to 10 are instructed and supervised by some 
35,000skiNed workers, teachers and engineering teachers. The 
"productive work" lessons are designed to prepare youngsters for 
professional life. They are an integral part of general education but 
do not constitute vocational training. 

There exist some special classes and schools for those pupils 
who are particularly gifted or have a special interest in a certain 

Education 181 

f ie td In addition to the regular curriculum more challenging and 
demanding lessons are given in particular subjects such as mathe- 
matics, the natural sciences, foreign languages, the fine arts or 
sports. In addition, there are a range of optional subjects with fixed 
syllabuses which are taught from the 7th grade onwards and 
which extend and deepen the knowledge of the pupils. 

The GDR's 5,800schoois have standardized teaching aids and 
materials which correspond to the curricula and textbooks. At the 
500 or so special schools for physically and mentally handicapped 
children and young people teaching materials are available which 
are especially developed for or adapted to the special nature ot 
these schools or the particular kind of handicap. The stock of 
teaching materials Is being constantly expanded and updated In 
1985 a pocket calculator was introduced which had been espe- 
cially developed for the ten -year school. 

Teacher training 

Teachers who teach the lower grades, i.e. grades 1 to 4, study Ger- 
man and mathematics plus a subject of their own choice at a 
teacher-training institute for a period of four years. To all intents 
and purposes these are technical colleges and admission to them 
is conditional upon successful completion of the 10th grade. 

All teachers aiming to teach grades 5 to 10 of the general school, 
grades 11 and 12 of the advanced secondary school or at voca- 
tional schools attend, after having obtained the Abitur, a univers- 
ity, teacher training college, a college of technology or a college 
of music. These courses last five years and finish with the acquisi- 
tion of teaching qualifications for two subjects in grades 5 to 12. 

Teachers are all trained according to the same principles. They 
study the subjects they intend to teach in future, plus the educa- 
tional theory, psychology and methodology of these subjects. Like 
all other students they study Marxism-Leninism as part of a basic 
course in social sciences and improve their general education. 

Theory and practice are closely combined during the study 

132 Education 

course. The prospective teachers undergo several periods of 
practical training which place increasing demands on them as re* 
gards situations which they may be confronted with. Immediately 
after graduating from the college the young teachers receive em- 
ployment contracts. Graduated teachers regard It as a must of 
their profession to constantly upgrade their qualification. In-ser- 
vice training courses are held during the winter and summer vaca- 
tions on a compulsory basis. 

School-parents-youth organization 

The Free German Youth organization and the Ernst Thalmann Pio- 
neer organization as independent and integrated political mass or- 
ganizations have a decisive influence on the education process. 

The Ernst Thalmann Pioneer organization is for the 6 to 14-year 
olds and all pupils who so wish may join this organization. It was 
founded in 1948and in 1952 it wasgiven the name Ernst Thalmann, 
a staunch communist and leader of the German working class who 
was murdered by the Nazis. Most of the pupils in grades 1 to 7 are 
members of the GDR's integrated children's organization. In 
grades 1 to 3 they are called Young Pioneers, in grades 4 to 7 Thai- 
mann Pioneers. Pioneer groups are organized on the basis of 
classes and at this level as well as at school level they elect their 
committees, A symbol of membership In the Pioneer organization 
is a blue scarf for Young Pioneers and a red one for Thalmann Pio^ 

All young people who have reached the age of 14 can become 
members of the Free German Youth organization (FDJ). At the 
schools and vocational training establishments there exist FDJ 
groups organized on the basis of classes, each of them having an 
elected committee and a secretary. The highest FDJ body at a 
school is its branch committee. 

Thechildren'sand youth organization helps to direct the pupils' 
activities at socially important objectives. It organizes events in 
which all children and young people can participate. At schools 

Education 133 

and enterprises it promotes a wide range of activities and ideas in 
orderto support the process of learning, encourage socially useful 
work, promote education for peace and the idea of international 
solidarity and stimulate meaningful pastimes 
The schools, the children and youth organizations and parents 
cooperate closely. Every school has a parent-teacher association 
and every class its own parents' group. These parental representa- 
tions exercise their right to participation in decision-making at 
schooi in numerous, constructive ways. They help parents to live 
up to their growing responsibilities in bringing up and educating 
their children, to make the right decisions and resolve difficulties. 
The parent-teacher associations are elected every two years and 
the parents' groups at the beginning of every school year. 
6 14, 000 pa rents are active in these bodies, that is one in four par- 
ents with children of school-age. Members of the parent-teacher 
association and the chairman of the parents" group can be ex- 
cused from work on a short-term basis in connection with specific 
duties related to their function. 

184 Education 

Vocational training 

After completing the ten years' general schooling all young peo- 
ple take up an apprenticeship or attend a higher education institu- 
tion. Career guidance starts at school . All school-leavers are guar- 
anteed an apprenticeship or a place at a university or college as 
well as a secure job after completion of their training. 

Vocational training is free of charge and based on indentures. 
This is a special type of employment contract which is concluded 
between the apprentice and his or her parents on the one side and 
the enterprise on the other and includes ail their rights and duties 
for the duration of the apprenticeship. 

After completion of ten-year schooling vocational training is 
provided in two-year courses leading to a skilled worker's certifi- 
cate and entrance qualifications for technical school. Three-year 
courses fead to a skilled worker's certificate and university en- 
trance qualification. 

Most trades are open both to boys and girls, with the exception 
of 25 trades or specialist areas which cannot accept girls on health 

Vocational training in both theory and practice is based on 
standard curricula endorsed by the state. As to its content, voca- 
tional training is subdivided into 3 parts: general training and ba- 
sic vocational training (which comprise nearly two thirds of the 
training time) as well as special training. 

The apprentices are already faced with challenging tasks in 
training and production. That is why the curricula and teaching 
material have to be constantly revised and adapted to the latest re- 
quirements. In this way it is guaranteed that the young skilled 
workers are well trained and highly flexible. 

Two thirds of the apprentices get their theoretical training in 
modern, weli-equipped vocational schools run by enterprises. In 
addition, there exist publicly administered vocational schools, 
special workshops in enterprises and training opportunities in the 
work process. There are more than 17, 000 teachers for general 

Education 185 

training and basic vocational training and a teaching staff of 
32 , 000 for practical training. They are assisted by working people 
with long-standing experience who are entitled to give instruc- 

By involving the apprentices in socialist competition, in the 
Young Innovators' Fair campaign and in youth projects where 
they fulfil plan targets together with young skilled workers they 
make a creative and equal contribution to the completion of econ- 
omic tasks. 

The apprentices receive a monthly allowance and are entitled to 
use ail social and cultural facilities attached to their enterprises 
One in three apprentices lives in an apprentice hostel. 

Advanced level education 

Attendance at the highest educational facilities, i.e. universities 
and colleges, presupposes the passing of a university entrance 
exam (Abitur). There are different ways in which this university en- 
trance requirement can be obtained. Pupils who have completed 
their ten years of schooling may stay on for another two years to 
attend grades 11 and 12 of the extended secondary school or start 
a three-year vocational training course which leads both to the 
skilled worker's certificate and to university entrance qualifica- 
tions, People in employment can study for their Abitur by attend- 
ing evening classes or special Abitur courses offered by higher ed- 
ucation establishments. The completion of courses at engineering 
and technical schools also entitles people to take up studies in the 
respective field. Immediately after the successful completion of 
the 10th grade about 15 per cent of the pupils go on to study for 
their Abitur. All pupils of the extended secondary school receive a 
maintenance grant and all those who undergo vocational training 
including Abitur get an apprentice's allowance. 

186 Education 

Interest groups and leisure time activities 

All schools and facilities belonging to the youth organization give 
pupils the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of interest 
groups on a voluntary basis, 95,700such groups cater for child- 
ren's special interests, Inclinations and talents and represent a 
purposeful way of spending free time. Participation in the interest 
groups is free of charge and about 1 .5 million pupils - more than 
70 per cent of all pupils at our ten-year general polytechnical 
schools - make use of this opportunity, 

GDR schools have some 25,000 hobby groups in the field of 
science and technology with a total membership of almost 
300,000. About 550,000 g iris and boys pursue their special inter- 
ests in more than 30,000 cultural and arts groups. More than 
35,000pupiis take an active Interest in history and are members of 
some 3,200hobby groups organized at schools, museums, ar- 
chives and by the League of Culture. 80 per cent of all pupils go in 
for sporting activities in addition to compulsory sports lessons. At 
95 per cent of all schools there exist school sports clubs (SSG). 

Interest groups whose programmes continue with and examine 
more thoroughly the subject matter taught during normal lessons 
are particularly popular among older pupils. These include the 
study of mathematics, the natural and social sciences, art, culture 
and foreign languages. 

in all counties and districts, in town and country, there exist 
many facilities where children and young people can put their lei- 
sure time to good use. These indude about 150 Pioneer Houses, 
190 Young Technologists' and Naturalists' Clubs and more than 
70 Young Hikers' Clubs. 

The Ernst Thalmann Pioneer Palace in Berlin which was opened 
in 1979, the International Year of the Child, is one of these facili- 
ties, In 300 or so hobby groups and events everyday several thou- 
sand pupils are involved in Interesting and informative leisure ac- 

Education 187 

Universities, colleges and technical schools 

in order to take up a course of study at an engi neering or tech nical 
school applicants must have successfully completed their ten 
years' schooling and vocational training in a field of technology 
or economics and they must have a year's practical experience 
in their trade. 

Universities and colleges are the highest educational institu- 
tions. Research and training are closely intertwined. Enrolment at 
a university or college presupposes the Abitur and for most 
courses school -leavers of the advanced secondary school are re- 
quired to have completed one year's practical work. 

Admission to higher education establishments is conditional 
upon the applicants' abilities and performance as well as social re- 
quirements. In addition, the social composition of the student popu- 
lation must reflect that of the population as a whole. For many years 
about 50 per cent of our students have been women. One in four 
students is attending a study course in the field of technology. 

Full-time courses are free of charge. All students get a grant and 
are supported in many ways (student hostels, refectories, reduced 
fares, comprehensive support for student families and student 

Courses at engineering and technical schools last three years as 
a rule and lead to officially recognized professional qualifications 
after final examinations. 

Full-time courses at universities and colleges last four to five 
years, except for medicine which takes six years. The study pro- 
grammes include basic theory, specialization in the scientific area 
concerned and practical periods in enterprises and institutions. 
Study courses are completed with the writing and defence of a 
scientific paper (Diplomarbeit) and the award of the first academic 
degree. Immediately after the Diplom particularly outstanding stu- 
dents may acquire a higher academic degree by starting research 
studies lasting three years and ending with the award of a PhD af- 
ter the successful defence of a doctoral thesis. 



Study courses at u n iversities, colleges and technical schools are 
based on unified state curricula and teaching programmes. 
Higher education establishments cooperate closely with enter 
prises. This cooperation centres around purposeful research 
work, the optimum preparation of students for their future work 
and constantly improved in-service training of university, college 
and technical school graduates. 

At the higher education establishments the Free German Youth 
is represented in all governing bodies. Its involvement is aimed 
at a high standard of education, promoting a varied intellectual 
and cultural life and determining study and living conditions. 

The employment of graduates is subject to long-term prepara- 
tion. They are all guaranteed a job. 



Adult education 

The adult education scheme Is another integral part of the unified 
socialist education system. Basic and further education for adults 
not only serves to meet the requirements of the economy but also 
the needs of the working people with regard to education and cul- 
ture - needs which result from one's standard of education, one's 
role in the production process and the question of how to use 
one's spare time. There exists a large network of facilities for adult 
education, in addition to correspondence courses and evening 
classes at universities, colleges and technical schools other forms 
of adult education are provided by state, enterprise and social in- 
stitutions as well as by political parties and mass organizations. 

On average one in four working persons is involved in some form 
of in-service training. It enables working people to expand and 
deepen their knowledge, to specialize in some field and to acquire 
skilled worker's, technical school or college qualifications. People 
will be trained for another job if this becomes necessary due to 
economic, health or other reasons. All these forms of qualification 
are supported by the enterprise academies, that is to say the enter- 
prises' own education facilities. The working persons concerned 
are given time off for qualification purposes and they continue to 
receive their average monthly wages. 

Evening classes play a prominent part in adult education. They 
enable people to take the final exams of the ten-year general poly- 
technical school, the Abitur or individual subjects. In addition they 
provide courses in foreign languages as well as specialist knowl- 
edge in all fields of science, technology, art and culture. 

Mass organizations and scientific societies do much to enhance 
the interest in culture, science and the arts (League of Cu Iture), try 
to disseminate scientific knowledge from society, nature and tech- 
nology (URANIA) and emphasize the need for scientific and tech- 
nological progress (Chamber of Technology, Society for Agrarian 
Sciences). Other forms of aduit education are provided by the me- 
dia, clubs and houses of culture. At universities and colleges Sun- 


190 Education 

day lectures, courses designed for especially gifted pupils and 
special lectures for older people are held. A great variety of cultu- 
ral events serve to cater for individual requirements and cover ail 
age groups. 



of the integrated socialist 
education system 


or college 



and technical 

Vocational training 

Ten-year general 



special schools) 

Secondary stage 

Intermediate stage 

Primary stage 



Vocational training plus Abitur 
Extended secondary school 


In 1970 and 1985 the following educational facilities were provided 






School gymnasiums 



Places at boarding schools and in 

halls of residence 



For ail pupils of grades 1 to 4, whose parents so wish, there is a day-care 
place available. 

83 per cent of schoolchildren take advantage of the school meals service, 
and 72 per cent drink the milk provided at schools. 

Vocational training takes place at 963 vocational schools as well as about 
3,600other training facilities 

• For school leavers of the 10th grade of the general polytechnical secon- 
dary school there are training opportunities in 238 skilled worker's pro- 
fessions and 47 rare skilled trades. 

« For school leavers of the 8th grade there Is training in 62 skilled workers 

Between 1971 and 1985, at the 54 universities and colleges as well as 
240 engineering and technical schools in the GDR more than a million spe- 
cialists were trained. In 1985 there were 208,400 students in full-time edu- 
cation at a university or technical college. At the same time, 11,800 nation- 
als from about 120 countries completed preparatory studies or preliminary 
and further training. 

Qualification structure of working people in the socialist industry (in per 

1970 1980 1985 

Supervisors and skilled 

workers 48 61 64 

University and college gradu- 
ates 11 19 21 

Every year between 1981 and 1985, approximately a million skilled work' 
ers and supervisors underwent further training within the adult edu- 
cation system. 

Between 1981 and 1985 

• 239,293 working people qualified as skilled workers 

• 63,136 skilled workers qualified as supervisors 

Education lays stress on the need for pupils to be trained to cope with 
advances in science and Lech no logy. 

Practical skills are acquired in polytechnical education, (right) 



<■•1 y&jUUj 

‘ -jjlP 

Egilj: / J 

_.. r — . - jjjdfr 


r| |ijL 



Jugendweihe, a ceremony at which 14-year-olds are admitted into 
the community of adults, and annual school reports are awaited with 
anticipation by children and parents alike. 

Apprentices have experienced instructors to help them learn their fu- 
ture trades, (right) 

1 " 





Main building of the Ernst Moritz Arndt university in Greifswald. 

Student club in Leipzig, (below) 

Lecture at the Anatomy Institute of the Karl Marx University Medical 
School Leipzig, (overleaf) 

Future tilers learning practical skills. 

A farm engineer is just one of the 238 available trades. 


The GDR's socialist national culture is developing successfully. 
Conditions for a rich cultural life have been created for every cit- 
izen and are continually improving. Every citizen has easy access 
to the treasures and values of culture and art, which is facilitated 
by the GDR's Integrated education system. A dense and extensive 
network of cultural institutions offers a wide range of opportuni- 
ties for all citizens to participate in the country's rich intellectual 
and cultural life. 

In the GDR, culture and art are not just for the chosen few, the 
experts; they have ceased to be elitist. The museums, theatres, 
concert halls, clubs, cinemas, radio and television as well as the 
majority of publishing houses are nationally-owned and are fin- 
anced or subsidized from the state budget. There is a constant in- 
crease in the number of people who find, in works of art, new and 
deeper insight and knowledge and thus enrich their lives. At the 
same time the need for, and the interest in, personal cultural and 
artistic involvement is growing. 

Citizens play a part in many ways in shaping cultural life. By tak- 
ing partin cultural life and democratic decision making in manage- 
ment bodies, on 

advisory councils and commissions, in work 
groups attached to local assemblies and in interest groups they are 
realizing a basic right which is guaranteed by the GDR constitu- 
tion. An important work in this respect is being done by the trade 
unions and the Free German Youth organization promoting multi- 

202 Culture 

faceted intellectual and cultural activities at places of employment 
and elsewhere. The GDR League of Culture, URANIA, a society to 
disseminate scientific knowledge, and other democratic mass or- 
ganizations are also very active in the cultural field. 

A cultural fund, in the charge of a committee chaired by the 
Minister of Culture, is used to award grants to promising new ta- 
lent, finance study trips of artists, organize workshops for profes- 
sionai and amateur artists and various exhibitions as well as to en 
courage the creation of new works of art. Furthermore, towns and 
communities, enterprises and institutions, ministries and cultural 
institutions place commissions with the arts community. 

Houses of culture, 

clubs and amateur cultural activities 

Through various circles, study, interest and hobby groups as well 
as through social gatherings and arts functions houses of culture 
and clubs satisfy a wide range of interests and inclinations. They 
are also dedicated to discovering and encouraging new talent In 
the cultural and artistic spheres. Choirs, singing clubs of the youth 
organization, amateur dance orchestras, symphony and chamber 
orchestras, amateur dance groups, photographic circles, pain- 
ting, drawing and pottery groups, amateurfllm studios and groups 
for workers who fancy turning their hand to writing provide the 
amateur arts community - usually under the guidance of profes- 
sional artists - with a wide range of opportunities. 

The Confederation of Free German Trade Unions, jointly with 
the Ministry of Culture, the Central Council of the FDJ, the artists' 
associations, the GDR League of Culture, the National Council of 
the National Front and other organizations as well as individual en- 
terprises, organizes biennial Workers' Arts Festivals. There are si- 
milar festivals at workplace level, in 1985 alone, 3,600 such festiv- 
als took place, a token of their great popularity. Being cultural 
events of the trade unions and displaying the cultural prowess of 
the working people, the national Workers' Festivals have become 

Culture 203 

a concern of the whole nation and are stimulating cultural life 
throughout the country. 

Young people and culture 

Culture and art are considered to form an important part of child- 
ren's and young people's lives and to be an integral part of the de- 
velopment of their personalities. 

Creches and kindergartens, polytechnical and extended secon- 
dary schools, vocational training institutions as well as colleges 
and universities are trying to awaken an appreciation of cultural 
values, encourage individual creative involvement, arouse a love 
of art and develop artistic taste and aesthetic sense. 

For schoolchildren of the 5th to 12th grade there are many ex^ 
tracurricular opportunities to take part in groups advised by par- 
ents, artists and other experts. These include arts clubs and socie- 
ties, cultural ensembles, choirs, orchestras, musicians' societies 
and dance groups, philatelists 1 societies, foreign language socie- 
ties and many others. Participation in these activities is entirely vo- 
luntary and is free of charge for all pupils. 

The children's organization of the Young Pioneers and the 
youth organization of the Free German Youth offer many opportu- 
nities for stimulating cultural activities In pioneer club houses, 
young engineers' and natural scientists' groups, outdoor pursuit 
centres, and youth clubs. 

The creative abilities of children and young adults are promoted 
through participation in competitions and national contests as well 
as field courses in the spheres of art, technology, mathematics, 
natural sciences and languages. 

The singing movement which embraces approximately 
2 r 60Gsinging clubs is one of the important initiatives launched by 
the youth organization. One outstanding event is the political song 
festival which takes place every year with participants from all 
over the world. It is impossible to imagine cultural life in the GDR 
without the young poets' seminars and the meetings of young reci- 

204 Culture 

ters, the song and dance ensembles and the "young talent" move- 
ment. More than half a million children send one or more entries - 
drawings, paintings or sculptures - to the annual "friendship gall- 
eries". There are almost 9,560 FDj youth clubs in enterprises, 
cooperatives, neighbourhoods, villages, or attached to cultural 
and arts institutions, universities and schools. From 1980 to 1985 
alone, 161 youth club facilities - mostly newly-built - providing a 
total of 18,000places were established. 

Many young people are very interested in music, films, books 
and visual arts. Virtually all of them have radio, television, cas- 
settes and records. Every year 16 million children and youth visit 
museums, galleries and exhibitions. Almost 80 per cent of the 
boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 and more than 64 per 
cent of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 make regular 
use of public libraries. On average every pupil reads 20 books a 

Five special theatres put on productions for young audiences 
between 6 to 16 years of age; other theatres do their bit to cater for 
the interests of young theatre-goers by staging some 70 specially 
adapted productions every year. 

The arts 

In the socialist society of the GDR, a great deal of value is placed 
on the arts. 

Artists and writers feel they share a certain responsibi lity for the 
way in which their public views the world, and through their work 
they wish to promote the formation of educated and creative per- 

In the GDR, art has become an important, indispensable means 
of public assessment and of discussion of social processes, moral 
values, and the successes of socialism as well as the opportunities 
for, and necessity of, being active socially. Art aims to stimulate 
people to reflect upon the values which lend sense to life in to- 
day's world, to help the reader, spectator and listener to make 

Culture 205 

their own evaluations and encourage social commitment. Sociaiist 
society pays particular attention to the training and promotion of 
young artists, in 1984/85 approximately 7,000 students were en- 
rolled at a total of 22 higher educational establishments taking 
courses in arts, cultural policy and relevant fields. 


People in the GDR read a great deal, and a iot is done to encourage 
new literary works. 

A total of 78 publishing houses, the Writers Union, the state and 
social forces try in many ways to encourage new literary works. 
On average 200 new titles are published annually, children's 
books and literary classics not included. 

GDR literature conveys, applying a wide range of conceptual 
and stylistic approaches and dealing with a diversity of themes, a 
wide spectrum of information on life in the GDR, the struggle for 
peace, social progress, human rights and a decent life for every* 
one in the world. Every year some 15 to 20 writers of all ages ap- 
pear on the scene. The Writers Union and the publishing houses 
make a continuous effort to develop the talent of young authors. 
Work done by young amateur poets appears regularly in the youth 
press and in the Offene Fenster paperback series. The work of 
more established lyricists is published in the Poesiealbum series. 
The quarterly magazine Temperamente is a public forum for all 
sorts of budding literary figures. The Johannes R. Becher Institute 
of Literature in Leipzig brings on the up-and-coming talent. Over 
1,100 bookshops are the outlets for literature, scientific textbooks, 
music and records as well as reproductions and art books. 

Making use of libraries - one's own personal one or those of the 
state and the trade unions - is a quite natural part of life for many 
industrial workers, cooperative farmers and other working peo- 
ple. More than a third of the population are registered and regular 
users of public libraries and more than 20 per cent of these are 
workers. Book discussions, readers 1 and writers' dances, book 

206 Culture 

!j bazaars, the "Week of the Book", the "Festival of Soviet Literature" 
and similar events dealing with the literary scene of other coun- 
tries, as well as the 'Children's and Youth Literature Festival" all 
help to Increase people's knowledge of literature and make books 
accessible to a large section of the public. 


The GDR is a country with a rich tradition in theatre and, consider- 
ing its size and population, provides theatre-goers some of the 
best opportunities in the world offering them a choice of 183 thea- 
tres and stages. 

Apart from the internationally renowned theatres in the capital 
BerM n— the Berliner Ensemble, the Deutsches Theater, the Staats- 
oper and the Komische Oper-and such centres of theatre as 
Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, Karl Marx Stadt, Rostock or Schwerin 
there are theatres in many other towns with their very own artistic 
profi les. The yearly repertoire of over 1,000 plays includes the her- 
itage of humanist, democratic and socialist drama as well as the 
works of contemporary national and international authors. Over 
the last ten years, about 50 per cent of the productions have been 
plays from CSCE member states. 

The theatre in the GDR Is a people's theatre. Many theatres and 
enterprises have established fruitful partnership relations. Chats 
in the foyer and discussions at rehearsals encourage the exchange 
of opinions between actors and the public on new dramatic works. 


The GDR is renowned for its rich culture in music. In the 15 coun- 
ties there are a total of 88 independent orchestras, including thea- 
tre orchestras. Among them there are such famous ones as the 
Dresdner Staatskapelle, the Leipzjger Gewandhausorchester, the 
Staatskapelle Berlin and the Berliner Sinfonieorchester. The al- 

Cuiture 207 

most 7,000 concerts in 1 9S5 r attended by some 3.8 million people, 
ranged from symphony and chamber concerts - including vocal 
music - to concert series such as "An hour of music" and "Winter 
concerts in the country" which take place even in the smallest of 
rural communities. An expression of the closeness of artists and 
working people are the manifold and often lasting contacts be- 
tween orchestras and workteams, theatregoers' and listeners' 

The Dresden Music Festival as well as the Berlin Music Biennial 
Festival which annually alternate with the GDR Music Festival, as 
well as the Bach Festival in Lei pzig, the Handel Festival in Halle and 
the Johann Sebastian Bach and Robert Schumann contests in Leip- 
zig and Zwickau, respectively, attract numerous music lovers 
from home and abroad. 43 theatre companies which put on 
650 productions every year - opera, ballet, operettas, musicals - 
offer a comprehensive programme. 

342 composers, 229 musicologists, 181 performers and 155 
music teachers are united in the Composers and Musicologists 
Union of the GDR. This association sticks up for their rights, en- 
courages contemporary composers and helps popularize new 
works of music. 

The Bach Museum in Eisenach, the Handel Museum in Halle or 
the Schutz Memorial in Bad Kbstritz are some of the most well- 
known and most Impressive of the GDR's museums, archives and 
musical instrument collections. Organs constructed in the GDR 

and musical instruments from Markneukirchen and Klingenthal 
are known the world over. 

Light Entertainment 

Due to growing demands, recreation, entertainment and social in- 
tercourse play an important part in the country's cultural life. Joint 
efforts by entertainers, cultural institutions, social organizations 
and public authorities under the auspices of the Light Entertain- 
ment Committee have succeeded in raising entertainment to new 

203 Culture 

and higher standards, A wide spectrum of entertainment is of- 
fered: from discotheques to dance evenings, from rock concerts 
to song contests, from variety shows to cultural festivals. The num- 
ber of such events has grown noticeably in the last few years. The 
approximately 51,000events coordinated in 1985 by concert and 
guest performance organizers attracted about 15 million visitors. 
Some 2.5 million people went to see the programmes of the GDR 
State Circus. Every year, the country's 14 cabarets entertain over 
600,000 spectators with political satire. 

There are many different forms of dance music ranging from 
disco to rock-symphonic and electronic experiments, from atmos- 
pheric music to pop music influenced by folk music and chansons, 
from hard rock to jazz rock, from melodic rock music to blues and 
soul. The fraternity of jazz Eovers is growing continuously, cele- 
brating all styles of jazz music from popular dixieland to modern 
jazz drawing on contemporary symphonic and chamber music. 

About 5,000amateur dance bands and almost as many amateur 
discotheque comperes as well as 350 professional dance bands 
and approximately 80 professional disc jockeys do their bit in pro- 
viding leisure activities. Approximately 50 million people every 
year go to discos. 

In 1982, renowned rock musicians in our country responded for 
the first time to an appeal to start a joint action in the cause of 
peace using the specific means at their disposal. The event met 
with a great response both from the performing artists and the nu- 
merous guests from home and abroad. Since then "Rock for 
Peace" has become one of the cultural highlights of the year. In 
January 1986, 100,000 people experienced 123 hours of live music 
during the "Rock for Peace" concerts. 

The visual and applied arts 

Visual and applied arts come in many forms and genres and have a 
permanent home in museums, exhibitions, neighbourhood galler- 
ies and arts centres. However, works of art are also to be found in 

Culture 209 

enterprises and public buildings, on squares and in parks in the 
towns and villages. They brighten up buildings and streets. Art is 
part of everyday life. This can be seen particularly in the combina- 
tion of visual arts and architecture In socialist urban development 
and housing construction, and in the synthesis of architecture and 

Every five years Dresden plays host to national art exhibitions. 
They are preceded by exhibitions at county level. These exhibi- 
tions - they include paintings, graphic arts, sculpture, design, 
craft, poster and photographic art - attract visitors from all over 
the country. The exhibits, often commissioned by enterprises, tes- 
tify to the close relationship between artists and the general pu- 

Government authorities and social organizations help to im- 
prove the living and working conditions of the arts community. 
Artists are assisted through the provision of studio space and com- 
missions avaiiable from a wide range of social institutions. 


Films, whether made for television or the silver screen, area major 
facet of the GDR's cultural scene and have come to play an import- 
ant role as an artistic means of education. GDR films are deeply 
committed to the ideals of humanism. The studios of the nation- 
allyowned DEFAfilm company turn out every year 15 to 18 feature 
films and numerous documentary and animated films. Apart from 
the television network, about 5,700 cinemas and projection halls 
help publicize national and international film productions. Every 
year the cinemas show 130 to 150 feature films from all over the 
world which attract well over 70 million people. National and in- 
ternational documentary films have established themselves in 
television and cinema. An example of this is the documentary and 
short film week held in Leipzig. 

The film buffs 1 movement in the GDR has achieved great popu- 
larity. it brings together film enthusiasts and provides the opportu- 

210 Culture 

fifty to familiarize oneself with, and discuss, national and interna* 
tionaf film productions. National festivals of feature, documentary 
and children films are organized at regular intervals. 

Cultural heritage 

The National Council for Preserving and Spreading German Cultu- 
ral Heritage, which is a body attached to the Council of Ministers, 
does a great deal to preserve and develop both the German and 
international cultural heritage. 

The cultivation of the cultural heritage takes on many forms 
ranging from the celebration of anniversaries and jubilees, the up- 
keep and use of monuments, the work of museum authorities, the 
collection, preservation and investigation of historical records. 
Then there are a major publishing sector and the records brought 
out by VEB Deutsche Schallplatte, theatres, orchestras and ama- 
teur arts groups, education at schools and mass cultural work. By 
organizing tributes to Marx and Luther, Goethe and Schiller, Ein- 
stein and Brecht, to Johannes Bbttger, the discoverer of European 
hard-paste porcelain; Robert Koch, the discoverer of the tubercu- 
losis bacillus, the progressive, bourgeois educational theorist Erie- 
drich Frobel and the landscape gardener Hermann Furst von Puck- 
ler-Muskau and many others, the GDR has been continuing over 
the recent years to preserve the cultural heritage. 

Monuments and memorials 

The GDR possesses a valuable stock of monuments to history and 
culture, science, art and technology. About 48,000items are on 
the protected list. 300 monuments are listed by UNESCO as build- 
ings and structures of major international importance. These in- 
cludethetown centresof Erfurt and Quedlinburg which date back 
to the 16th and 17th centuries. Other examples are the cathedrals 
in Magdeburg, Naumburg, Erfurt, Meissen, the Wartburg Castle 
near Eisenach, the Dresden Zwinger as well as architecturally im- 

Culture 211 

portant areas, such as Unter den Unden and Platz der Akademie in 
Berlin. An Act on the Preservation of Monuments in the GDR 
makes it incumbent on government bodies, public organizations 
and private individuals to assist with their upkeep. The work of 
builders in reconstructing, restoring, maintaining and preserving 
monuments, buildings of cultural importance and certain urban 
areas have been greatly approved by GDR citizens and have also 
received international acknowledgement. The reconstruction of 
the former Berlin Schauspielhaus designed by Schinkel into a con- 
cert house, the Semper Opera in Dresden and the Deutsches 
Theater in Berlin as well as the restoration of Wartburg Castie are 
all examples of efforts to maintain the heritage and traditions and 
to enrich cultural life in the GDR. The reconstruction work around 
Berlin's Platz der Akademie is almost completed. The Marx Engels 
Forum as well as the Ernst Thatmann memorial were inaugurated 
in the capital in the spring of 1986. 

More than 10G H QGO volunteers are taking part in a community ef- 
fort to preserve memorials and their surroundings which has been 
organized since 1982 by the National Council of the National 
Front, the Ministry of Culture and the League of Culture. More 
than 6,70Gpeople do an exemplary work in about 488 interest 
groups which make up the Society for the Preservation of Monu- 
ments attached to the League of Culture. 

The activities organized for the preservation of monuments 
found a wider and more solid base thanks to the establishment and 
development of VEB Denkmalpflege, a nationally owned enter- 
prise specialized in the restoration of artifacts, the training of quali- 
fied specialists and restorers as well as the encouragement of 
crafts which have almost died out. 


in 1985, more than 34 million people visited the 690 museums in 
the GDR. The preservation and presentation of Egyptian, Oriental, 
Early Christian-Byzantine antiquities and national and contempor- 

212 Culture 

ary objets d'art In the large museums in Berlin, the collections In 
the picture gallery and the Green Vault in Dresden, the Sans Souci 
palaces and gardens in Potsdam, the National Foundation of Clas- 
sical German Literature in Weimar and others continue to receive 
praise and admiration. The documentation of the history of the 
German people right from the beginning to the present day in the 
Museum of German History In Berlin attracts tens of thousands of 
visitors every year. In the last decade, the various exhibitions of art 
from the past and the present in the museums and galleries have 
gained considerably in importance. All in all, some 1,600 special 
exhibitions are put on every year in the museums with exhibits 
from home and abroad. In addition, specialists deliver some 
19,000 lectures on various subjects, and over 11,000 special 
events or functions are organized. 

Culture 213 

International cultural exchanges 

The GDR endeavours to develop cultural exchanges with any 
country which so wishes, and is trying hard to acquaint its own 
population with the cultural achievements of other peoples The 
GDR has signed relevant agreements with more than 50 countries. 
Cooperation is particularly close with the Soviet Union and the 
other socialist countries. 

Some of the most important annual events are the GDR Cultural 
Festival in the USSR and, likewise, the Soviet Cultural Festival in 


the GDR. Almost 3,000arti$ts and cultural workers from the GDR 
put on more than 1,000concerts and theatre performances as well 
as 30 exhibitions and took part in 20 theoretical conferences. Dur- 
ing the 1985 Soviet Cultural Festival in the GDR alone, over 
3,0G0$oviet artists, cultural workers and scientists visited the 
GDR. Highlights were, as always, the performances of the Alexan- 
drov Ensemble, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Soviet State Symphony Or- 
chestra, the Moscow Puppet Theatre, the Georgian State Dance 
Company, the North Russian People's Choir, the Leningrad Music 
Hall and the Moscow State Circus as well as exhibitions by Soviet 

Guest appearances in the GDR by foreign ensembles and solo- 
ists as well as GDR artists abroad all help enrich cultural life. Be- 
tween 1980 and 1985 there were 2,125 concerts and perform- 
ances in the GDR by 393 foreign orchestras, theatre, opera and 
ballet companies and folklore ensembles. During the same period, 

315 ensembles of GDR artists excelled in 2,261 performances and 
concerts abroad. GDR soloists made almost 13,000 appearances. 

International exchanges in this period included 345 exhibitions 
from the GDR in 95 countries and 200 exhibitions from 64 coun- 
tries in the GDR. 

At present the GDR is represented in about 70 international, 
non-governmental organizations in the field of culture and is ac- 
tively contributing to the work of UNESCO. The GDR is also repre- 
sented in the ITI {International Theatre Institute), the IOSTT (Inter- 

214 Culture 

national Organization of Scenographers and Theatre Technicians) 
and the ASSITEj (International Association of Youth and Children's 
Theatres). The GDR Writers Union is a member of PEN, the inter 
national association of poets and playwrights, and the GDR librar- 
ians' association is affiliated to I FLA, the international Federation 
of Library Association. The GDR is a member of the international 
Association for Scientific Films (AICS) and the international Feder- 
ation of Film Archives (FIAF). It Is also a member of the interna- 
tional Council of Museums (fCOM) and the International Council 
of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). There is also a GDR presence 
in the International Association of Visual Arts (AIAP), the Interna- 
tional Art Historians' Association (AICA) and the International 
Council of Commercial Artists' Associations (iCOGRAD). 

In the recent years the GDR was, inter alia, host to important 
general meetings and colloquies organized by the international or- 
ganizations in the fields of theatre, monument preservation, pup- 
pet theatre and amateur film. 

A particularly good exampie of the attractiveness of GDR art 
abroad was the exhibition "Tradition and Renewal" of paintings 
and graphic designs by 13 renowned GDR artists which was 
shown in Britain In 1984/85 and visited by more than 100,000 peo- 
ple in Oxford, Coventry, Sheffield and London. 


Breakdown of government spending in 198! 
on culture 

(excluding radio and television; in per cent) 

35.6 theatres, cinemas, orchestras 

207 houses of culture, community centres, 
promotion of amateur arts 

8.8 public libraries 

12.6 museums and art galleries 

X5 music schools 

3.0 preservation of monuments 

16.8 others 

Government spending on culture 

(excluding radio and television; in billion marks) 

1970 1980 

Book production 

Titles 5,234 6,109 

Number of copies (millions) 122 146 

* Of these 3,555 were first and 2,916 later editions 

The average number of books per household is approximately 143 r In ad 

dition there are the libraries with a total stock of 112.5 million books. 

The public libraries In the GDR have more than 1 1 million children s books. 
The stock increases every year by approximately 250,000. 

In 1985 a total of 858 titles for children and young people were brought 
out. A third of the 3.9 million people who use general libraries are young 

The cultural workers' union which is confederated in the FDGB isthetrade 
union organization of artists and employees of theatres, orchestras and 
museums as well as art schools and colleges. Its membership is about 
60,000, which is 95 per cent of all those active in the cultural sphere. 

The purpose of its work is to: 

• i improve the standa rd of the professio nal qua I if icatio ns of its members 

• improve their living and working conditions. 

The union concludes labour agreements with the artists' associations and 
maintains friendly relations with over 5G artists' associations around the 

Cinematic art in the GDR 

• D EFA-Aussenhan del, the nationally owned film trading organization, 
markets GDR films through 1 jOOdistributors and broadcasting stations 
in 105 countries on 5 continents. Export agreements were concluded 
with 80 countries, 

• In 1985 the GDR showed 103 DEFA films at approximately 50 Interna- 
tional festivals in 30 countries. 

• By the end of 1985 DEFA-Aussenbandel had concluded about 3,000 ex 
port agreements for 400 productions from the DEFA cartoon film stu- 

The National Workers' Festival takes place every other year in one of 
the GDFTs 15 counties. 

Sung groups and solo performers from many countries come to- 
gether every year at the Political Song Festival in Berlin, 

Meeting between young writers and their more experienced peers at 
the traditional poets' seminar in Schwerin. 

Painting and drawing group at the teachers r centre in Haile (above) 

... and the sculpture group at the iron and steelworks in Eisenhiitten 
stadt (below) are just two out of some 22,000 such hobby groups 
throughout the GDR. 



mm Si» 


Rehearsal by the Thomanerchor, Leipzig, a world-famous boys' 
choir, under the direction of Prof. Hans- Joachim Rotzsch. 

Concert in Berlin's Schauspielhaus, rebuilt after destruction in the 

The rebuilt Semper Opera House (below) in Dresden saw its gala 
premiere with a presentation of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg 
produced by the composer's grandson, Wolfgang Wagner. 

fit™’ nWiifi 

Berfin s Friedrichstadtpafast, one of Europe's most famous variety 
theatres, has had a new home since 1984. 

Seminar for sculptors in wood involving students from the art col- 
leges in Berlin and Dresden. 

Frank Schobet, one of the GDR's favourite pop singers, (above left) 
The staff of the theatre in Rudolstadt go to the road in the summer 
months to perform for holidaymakers, (below) 

Leipzig Documentary and Short Film Week, (overleaf) 


i'V T r?* 17 


Health services 

Comprehensive health care for all, health protection and promo- 
tion of people's well-being are important aspects of the GDR's so- 
cial policy. All citizens are guaranteed equal access to health 
care irrespective of social background, social situation and place 
of residence. All medical care is free of charge. 

Each citizen is free to consult a doctor of his or her own choos- 

Social security 

A comprehensive, standard insurance scheme exists in the GDR. 
There are two kinds of insurance. The social insurance scheme for 
workers and salaried employees, run by and financed through the 
Confederation of Free German Trade Unions, covers about 90 per 
cent of the population. The remaining ten per cent, including 
members of agricultural and craft cooperatives, self-employed 
persons etc., are covered by a state -run organization. Pensioners 
and non-working dependants of those with compulsory insurance 
also enjoy full insurance coverage. 

The cost of the insurance scheme for workers and salaried em- 
ployees is borne by those insured, their enterprises and the state 
The contributions of those ensured have for years been stable at 
10 per cent of gross income with an upper limit of 60 marks per 

226 Health services 

month. For several years now those desiring additional services in 
case of illness, invalidity and old age have had the opportunity to 
take out a supplementary insurance on a voluntary basis. 

Contributions to this supplementary insurance amountto 10 per 
cent of a person's monthly income earned in excess of 600 marks, 
This enables an increase in retirement and invalidity pension and 
surviver s benefits to a maximum of 90 per cent of previous net 

Insurance coverage of all employees and their dependants is 
the key to free and general access to medical care. In-patient and 
out-patient medical services are provided by state- and church- 
run facilities. Doctors are under no financial constraints in pre- 
scribing medication. 

! . The social insu rance system provides all necessary services and 

benefits for insured persons and their dependants, such as cura- 
tive treatment including time spent at a spa or sanatorium, medica- 
tion, artificial limbs, hearing aids, surgical supports and other 
equipment as well as preventive treatment. Major benefits are 
- sickness benefit for employees temporarily incapable of work 
due to illness, industrial injury, occupational disease and quar- 
1 1 antine as well as for those undergoing preventive, curative or 

recuperative treatment at a spa or sanatorium 
- maternity allowance before and after confinement 
- financial assistance to single parents as well as families with two 
or more children obtaining leave from work to care for sick 

- paid leave for women after the birth of the first and the second 
I childuptothechild'sfirstbirthdayand paid leave after the birth 

of the third and any fu rther child up to the age of 18 months 
- pensions for persons reaching retirement age and in case of ill- 
ness, industrial injury or occupational disease leaving a person 
partly or totally incapable of work (the amount depending on the 
j degree of the disability) 

- payments made in a transition period from one job to another to 
prevent occupational disease 

Health services 


- attendance allowance, assistance for the blind 

- death grant. 

In the case of illness, quarantine or spa treatment, a person is enti- 
tled to 90 per cent of average net earnings fora period of up to six 
weeks. From the 7th to 73th week sickness benefit varies between 
50 and 90 per cent according to the number of children. Employ- 
ees who have taken out a voluntary supplementary insurance will 
get 70 to 90 per cent of average net earn Engs (up to the 78th week), 
depending on the number of children. 

If someone is unable to work because of an accident at work or 
occupational disease, full average pay will be granted until has or 
her health has been restored, but for no more than 78 weeks. By 
then it has to be decided whether a pension is payable. Sickness 
benefit is also paid during hospitalization, 

All these benefits guarantee materia! security in old age and in 
the case of illness, accident, invalidity and motherhood. 

Health care 

Good medical care and the continuing improvement of social con- 
ditions have had favourable effects on the general standard of 
health. Vivid examples are the rise in life expectancy, the decline 
of the infant mortality rate and of the incidence of infectious dis- 
eases, and the shift in the Incidence of chronic disease to those in a 
higher age bracket. 

Life expectancy has risen by six to seven years since the GDR 
was founded to 70 years for men and 75 years for women. 

The infant mortality rate (per '000 live births) had declined from 
13.5 in 1970 to 9.6 in 1985 as a result of the exemplary care for ex- 
pectant mothers and improved obstetric and paediatric ser- 

State-sponsored compulsory immunization programmes have 
led to marked success in controlling infectious diseases. Small- 
pox, polio, diphtheria and tetanus no longer occur among children 
and young people, A dear downward trend is discernible with re- 

228 Health services 

gard to tuberculosis, typhoid and paratyphoid, infectious hepatitis 
and whooping cough. 

A major element of health care for children and young people 
are regular medical inspections in creches, kindergartens, 
schools and vocational schools. Regular X-ray screenings are 
available to all people and compulsory for certain age groups. For 
diabetics and rheumatics as well as patients with tumours there are 
specific health surveillance schemes. 

Accidents are the main threat to the health and life of younger 
people. Since 1970 the number of accidents and the number of 
people who were injured or died in accidents have been reduced 
with the help of administrative measures (obligatory use of safety 
belts, ban on driving under the influence of alcohol} and of im- 
provements in the health service (extension of ambulance ser- 

Statutory norms for protecting the biosphere and the country- 
side and for noise control also promote the prevention of illness. 
Great emphasis is being placed on the prevention, early recogni- 
tion and early treatment of diseases. The overriding principle is 
that the services provided should promote improvement in the 
health of the people, in the prevention of illness and in lowering 
the incidence of death in cases where it is avoidable. 

Medical and social care 

Health and social services focus on raising the nation's general 
standard of health, i.e. on bringing about tangible improvements 
in outpatient and inpatient medical care for the entire popula- 

The term primary health care covers all medical services - pre- 
ventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative - that are avail- 
able locally to the residents of all districts. It makes up the biggest 
share of medical services in general. Primary health care is pro- 
vided by a large number of in- and outpatient facilities with differ- 
ent specialist departments. The linchpin of the GDR's health care 

Health services 223 

system is the health centre (Poliklinik), which provides medical, 
surgical, gynaecological, paediatric and dental services and in- 
cludes an X-ray department, a diagnostic laboratory and facilities 
for physiotherapy. The Ambulatorium is smaller than the health 
centre, but as a rule it has three specialist departments. This kind 
of outpatient unit is the norm in rural areas and for the industrial 
health service. The network of outpatient facilities also comprises 
state-run and private medical practices. 

District nurses play a highly important role. Employed by the 
state and of considerable assistance to doctors, they give first aid 
and carry out therapeutic measures prescribed by doctors. They 
work relatively independently under the doctor's direction; their 
responsibilities also include preventive and social care. There are 
5,463district nurses' posts in rural areas all over the country, 
which has contributed to an overall improvement in rural health 

All in all there are about 1,600 health centres and outpatient units 
in the GDR staffed by 18,000doctors. This means that about half of 
the members of the medical profession work in the busiest area of 
the health care system. On average, people see a doctor nine 
times a year. Dental services, too, have been extended; the num- 
ber of consultations in 1985 was 20 million for adults and seven 
million for children. 

State-run hospitals are assuming growing importance as re- 
gional centres for diagnosis and treatment. As a rule they have out- 
patient departments as well. Statutory rules concerning the re- 
sponsibilities and the running of hospitals were passed in 1979. 
There are 460 state-run hospitals, 78 maintained by the churches 
as well as four private establishments for in-patients. Bed capacity 
is about 170,000, i.e. about ten beds per 1,000 inhabitants. 

Some 2.4 million patients are admitted to hospital each year. 
About 75 per cent of them are treated in departments of medicine, 
surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, and paediatrics which to- 
gether account for 55 per cent of all hospital beds. 

In addition to primary health care, specialist and highly special- 

Hea th services 

The GDR's Constitution and the Labour Code guarantee each cit- 
izen the right to work and with it the right to health and safety at the 
workplace. Responsibility for health protection at the workplace 
rests with the managers as well as with the economic authorities 
and ministries. Doctors and paramedical staff, employed in enter- 
prises by the health authorities, provide medical care for employe 
ees on the basis of legal provisions and in line with the size of the 
enterprise and the health hazards involved in working there. 

Their main task Is the early recognition and prevention of heaith 
damage. They carry out periodic check-ups and pre-employment 
examinations. Great attention is being paid to the prevention of oc- 
cupational diseases and Industrial injuries, health education, fre 
quent hygiene controls and further improvements in working con- 

ized medical care is provided, such as implementation of artificial 
joints and pacemakers, and dialysis. 

Almost 170,000 haemodialysis sessions were carried out in 
1985. In the same year, 220 out of every million inhabitants first 
received a cardiac pacemaker. Cardiac surgery is undertaken by 
five institutions: the Charite (Berlin's teaching hospital), the Leip- 
zig, Halle und Rostock teaching hospitals and an establishment at 
Bad Berka. Facilities for neurosurgery exist in three institutions: at 
the Charite and the universities of Leipzig and Greifswaid. Kidney 
transplants are performed at the Rostock and Halle teaching hospi- 
tals and at the Beriin-Friedrichshain hospital. The Charite in Berlin 
leads the way in the field of highly specialized care. 

The blood transfusion service, a major prerequisite for a high 
standard of surgery, operates effectively in the GDR. Voluntary 
unpaid donors account for half of ail donor sessions. 

Ambulance services are being further expanded, with special 
emphasis on 24-hour medlcaf services. The number of patients re- 
quiring immediate medical attention is about 200,000 per year. 

Industrial health 

Health services 231 

A wide network of Industrial health facilities exists with a total 
staff of about 2,500 full-time doctors (including 900 specializing in 
industrial hygiene) and 10,000 nurses. These 3,800 facilities pro- 
vide comprehensive heaith care (prevention, treatment and re- 
habilitation) for 6.7 million employees. The industrial health ser- 
vice exerts its influence to achieve a reduction in the number of 
jobs involving heavy physical labour and health hazards. Worth 
mentioning are reductions in the incidence of serious occupa- 
tional diseases such as black lung, chronic poisoning and hearing 
impairment caused by noise. The number of people suffering phy- 
sical injury due to occupational diseases has also declined stead- 
ily. Comprehensive industrial safety regulations and surveys of ac- 
cident causes have brought a steady reduction in the number of 
people killed and injured at work 
The downward trend in the incidence of industrial injuries is 
largely due to the efforts made by the industrial health service. 
Since 1980, the incidence has declined by 13.9 per cent and in 
1985 stood at an all-time low of 24,9 accidents per 1,000 employ- 

Care for mothers and children 

Legislation concerning care for mothers and children and the 
rights of women was adopted in 1950. This law embodies the 
state's special support for the institutions of marriage, the family 
and motherhood. 

Care for mothers and children begins at an early stage, namely 
in the 900 or so prenatal clinics where pregnant women receive 
periodic medical check-ups. Ninety per cent of them do so from 
the 12th week of pregnancy onwards. Over 99 per cent of all child- 
ren are born in hospital. Examinations of all new-born babies for 
phenylketonuria and vaccinations against tuberculosis (BCG) are 
carried out while they are still in the maternity ward. 

Following their discharge from hospital babies receive medical 
care in post-natal clinics, of which there are about 10,000. The 

232 Health services 

number of consultations, most of them medical check-ups, ap- 
proaches 3 million per year. These clinics monitor and promote 
the physical and mental development of the infants through syste* 
matic medical, preventive and social care. They are responsible 
for the vaccination of children who do not attend a creche. 

In line with the principle of equality for women, different forms 
of family planning exist. The availability of contraceptives has 
greatly contributed to the freedom to choose the number of child- 
ren wanted, A gynaecologist will prescribe contraceptives on de- 
mand and free of charge. According to the Termination of Preg- 
nancy Act of 9 March 1972 an unwanted pregnancy can be term- 
inated free of charge at the woman's request up to the 12th week 
with no conditions involved. The operation is performed in hos- 
pital, and patients are entitled to sickness benefit. An abortion is 
inadmissible if it may give rise to complications endangering the 
patient's health or life. 

Health services 233 

Aid for the handicapped 

The integration of physically and mentally handicapped persons 
into the life of the community is being promoted in different ways. 
Comprehensive measures in the field of rehabilitation, medical 
and social care go together with efforts to make education and 
work possible for them. The basic humanistic approach in socialist 
society ensures that everyone has a right to education, work and 
material security. Aid for the handicapped is mainly focussed on 

- vocational training in enterprises for the severely physically dis- 
abled or, if necessary, in special vocational training centres; 
and possibly college or university training 

- integration of the severely disabled and the severely mentally 
handicapped in the work process, e,g. in sheltered depart- 
ments, sheltered workshops or individual sheltered jobs 

- accommodation in homes for the disabled in the vicinity of their 

- promotion of uneducable but trainable children and young peo 
pie in day centres and residential homes (extension of existing 
facilities and creation of new ones), and instruction of family 
members on the rudiments of working with and supporting the 
severely handicapped 

- holidays and recreation for handicapped children, young peo- 
ple and adults 

- involvement of handicapped young people in cultural activities, 
especially in clubs 

- sports for the handicapped in special sports clubs. 

Physically and mentally handicapped children and young people 
receive special care. At present there are 14,100 places in day cen- 
tres, residential homes and hospitals where uneducable but train- 
able children are instructed in accordance with uniform curricula. 
Education for physically and mentally handicapped children and 
young people is provided by 600 special schools with 6,000 
classes (schools for the blind, the partially sighted, the deaf, those 
with speech impediments, schools for the physically and mentally 

Health services 

234 Health services 

Medical research and training 

substantial research potential has been created in the medical 
field as a prerequisite for a high level of medical and social care. 

In line with present tasks and future challenges, medical re- 
search capacity was concentrated on ten major research areas 
and sixteen research projects that determine the profile of medi- 
cal research In this country. 

Major areas of research include e.g ischaemic heart diseases 
and hypertension, neoplastic diseases, occupational diseases, 
diabetes and disorders of fat metabolism. 

Doctors and dentists are trained at six universities and three 
medical schools; two universities offer training programmes for 
pharmacists. Berlin's Humboldt University offers courses for Di- 
plom-Medizinpadagogen, i.e. graduate teachers of paramedical 
students. Applicants for medical (six years) or dental {five years) 
training are required to spend one year doing practical work in 
nursing and outpatient dental care, respectively, prior to enrol- 

The medical course is followed by four or five years of compul- 
sory further training in preparation for a career as a specialist. 
There are 32 specialities and four special fields of dentistry. Spe- 
cialist training is both theoretical and practical, with periods in 
medical research and in in- and outpatient care. 

Prospective paramedical workers attend three-year courses at 
one of the 62 colleges for professions supplementary to medicine. 
There are training courses in 17 specialities, e.g. for nurses, sick 
children's nurses, dental assistants, midwives, physiotherapists 
and laboratory assistants. Further specialization is possible in 
32 subjects. Candidates must have completed ten years of school- 

handicapped and special schools attached to hospitals). These are 
attended by about 75,000 pupils. At present 29,000 handicapped 
people have individual sheltered jobs, and 10,000 work in shel- 
tered departments and in sheltered workshops run by the health 
service. Thus the right to work is guaranteed to the severely physi- 
cal ly disabled and the mentally handicapped as well. By promoting 
its handicapped members and integrating them to the largest pos- 
sible extent into Its life, socialist society has lived up to its humanist 
responsibility. The valuable contribution made by church-run fa- 
cilities to the care of the disabled is held in great esteem in this 

Holidays, leisure time 
and recreation 

The way of life in a country is determined greatly by the amount of 
leisure time and by the needs and habits of the population. 

For millions of people in the GDR reading, personal artistic, 
sporting and social activities form as much part of leisure time as 
outings, further education or social events. 

Many families spend holidays and spare time together with 
friends and acquaintances. 

Likewise, the universities, enterprises, schools and mass orga- 
nizations as well as towns and communities offer ample opportune 
ties for people to spend their spare time purposefully. Substantial 
financial and other means are made available by these institutions 
and the state from the relevant funds. 

Inner-city amusement and leisure parks, sports facilities, leisure 
centres, houses of culture and club houses, theatres, cinemas, 
museums, various exhibitions and, last but not least, one s own 
garden offer the chance for a well-earned rest, relaxation or active 

238 Holidays, leisure time and recreation 


In the GDR there is a five-day working week of 43 3 / 4 hours. For 
people on continuous shift schemes and mothers with 2 or more 
children of 16 years or under, the weekly working time has been 
reduced to 40 hours. The 500,000-odd people who work on a two- 
shift system have a 42- hour working week. 

All employed persons are entitled to a minimum paid leave of 
3 weeks and 3 days. There are also regulations which shorten the 
working time for certain groups and lengthen the holiday allowed. 

In some professions with special working conditions such as min- 
ing the holiday is six to eight weeks a year. More than 1.2 million 
shift workers get an extra leave of between 5 and 10 days de- I 
pending on the shift scheme. 

The Trade Union Vacation Service is represented in 421 holi- 
day centres. It possesses 693 holiday centres of its own and leases 
under contract 50 to 80 per cent of the capacity in five first-rate 
Interhotels and other hotels. The service cooperates with 379 res- 
taurants of the state-owned retail organization, with cooperative 
organizations and private businesses and with thousands of pri- 
vate accomodation lessors to meet the requirements of holiday- 
makers. In 1985, approximately two million package holidays were 
arranged by the trade union's vacation service. Annually some 
11,000 trade union members board the "Arkona”, a cruise liner ^ I 
owned by the trade unions, for voyages to Cuba, the Mediterra- 
nean, the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. 

The vacation service employs approximately 17,000 people to 
ensure high standards in satisfying the needs of holidaymakers. 
Recreational activities offered include social evenings, concerts, 
book readings, lectures, brass band music with a drink and sport. 

In cooperation with the trade union organizations in other so- 
cialist countries the FDGB (Confederation of Free German Trade 
Unions) and individual enterprises organize international ex 
change programmes. 173,000 people took part in such exchanges 
in 1985. 

Holidays, leisure time and recreation 239 

The trade unions make special efforts to provide holiday facili- 
ties for families. Fifty-five per cent of all package holidays are avail- 
able to families with children, with forty per cent of such family 
holidays organized during summer school holidays. Each year, 
200 f 000places are made available to large families. 

Trade union members pay only 28 per cent of the actual costs 
of a ten-day to two-week holiday, and payment for accompany! ng 
children is only 30 marks which is about 15 per cent of the costs. 
Even if he goes with his family to the most luxurious holiday homes 
the vacationer pays only between one third and one half of his 
monthly income. 

in addition to this, all trade union members benefit from a reduc- 
tion of one third in the price of their rail ticket to and from the holi- 
day resort. 

The enterprise-run holiday centres, a major element of the un- 
ion's holiday scheme, ptay an equally important part in providing 
recreation facilities to the people. Altogether, there are 72,500 en- 
terprise-run holiday centres and facilities — ranging from bunga- 
lows, caravans, homes and campsites — which are used every year 
by some 3 million holidaymakers. 

Holiday homes provide places for about 13,000 handicapped 
people with special furnishing and services to suit the particular 
requirements of the guests. 

With a capacity of more than 549,000 individual places, the 
trade union is best able to satisfy people's demands for holiday 
and recreation facilities. 

In 1985, combines and enterprises contributed a total of 
355.9 million marks to the vacation service, with an additional 
91,8 million marks coming from the state budget. 

Holidays for schoolchildren and young people 

Schoolchildren of all ages are annually offered exciting holiday 

About 5,000 holiday camps exist, equipped and supervised by 



240 Holidays, leisure time and recreation 

nationally-owned enterprises and cooperatives. Approximately 
two million children and young people spend a part of thei r sum- 
mer holidays at these camps, or at one of the 50 camps of the 
Young Pioneer organization. Parents pay only two to four Marks 
weekly for each child's accommodation and food. 

The Pioneer organization and educational Institutions offer addi- 
tional local holiday opportunities in urban neighbourhoods and vil- 
lages. This form of hoiiday enables children to participate i n sports 
and games at local playgrounds and schoolyards, see plays and 
movies and go on excursions and field days. 

Youth travel 

Apprentices, schoolchildren, students and young working people 
take advantage of reasonably-priced package holidays both in the 
GDR and abroad offered by "jugendtourist", the youth travel 
agency of the Free German Youth. Since 1981, 6.9 million young 
people in the GDR have taken part in a Jugendtourist programme. 
In 1985, the agency organized travel for 1.9 million young people, 
296,500 of whom travelled abroad. While the main destination for 
foreign travel was the Soviet U nion, leading with 1 14, 1 30trips, hol- 
idays were offered in a total of 35 countries on four continents. 

There are 246 youth hostels and 16 youth hotels with accom- 
modation for 24,000 per night in the GDR, Schoolchildren, ap- 
prentices and students pay 25 pfennigs per night in a youth hos- 
tel. All other young people pay 50 pfennigs. 

Camping is very popular among young people in the GDfT 
Corresponding to the growing interest in camping among young 
and old alike, there are now 500 campsites, including some 
geared specially for young people. In total, campsites can accom- 
odate 372,G00people per night. More than 2.3 million people go 
on camping holidays annually. Appropriate organizations under 
local management look after maintenance of the sites. Almost one 
third of these sites are focated in the district of Rostock on the Bah 
tic Sea coast. 

Holidays, leisure time and recreation 


Outdoor activities and leisure time 

About one third of the year are non-working days in the GDR. This 
time is usually spent on education, culture and various hobbies. 

As people's demands increase, more outdoor amenities and 1 

recreation centres are established, and swimming facilities, camp- 
sites and sports centres are built or enlarged. 

The number of visitors to museums, parks, sports centres, 
clubs, cultural centres, theatres and cinemas is high, particularly 
on weekends. The Palace of the Republic in Berlin is one of the 
favourite places for social gatherings and cultural functions. From 
its opening in 1976 to the end of 1985 it had hosted over 
7,980 cultural events. Its theatre (known as TIP), a variety of exhi- 
bitions, concerts, dancing, discotheques and restaurants make a 
visit well worthwhile. 

Large cultural centres will be found in all major cities of the 
country. These include, for example, the Culture Palace in Dres- 
den and the civic centres in Cottbus and Karl Marx StadL 

The GDR League of Culture, an influential mass organization, is 
an important forum for leisure activities. It comprises numerous 
interest groups, central associations and commissions (for exam- 
ple, the local history association, curatorships for historic monu- 
ments, groups concerned with nature and the environment, the 
central commissions for photography, astronomy, hiking and 
touring, and the philatelist and Esperanto associations}. These as- 
sociations offer opportunities to people of all classes and strata of 
society to cultivate and develop their various interests and crea- 
tive abilities. Stamp and coin collecting societies and handicraft 
groups (such as those which make model trains, planes or ships) 
are expanding due to their popularity. 

Literary, art, music and theatre circles are equally popular. Fur- 
thermore, many people work in organizations concerned with re- 
search on the life and work of important artists and scientists, with 
landscape architecture, geology, etc. Often these organizations 
make valuable contributions to the fields in which they work. 

242 Holidays, leisure time and recreation 

Finally, the internationally recognized Pirkheimer Society, an or- 
ganization for book lovers, also deserves mention. 

Social gatherings and concerts are among the favourite leisure 
activities of young people. Unstructured leisure time can be spent 
in one of the many youth clubs In the GDR, including the approxi- 
mately 3,500village clubs. Youth clubs organize literary and musi- 
cal events, dances, and debates and discussions with scientists, 
artists and other figures of public life. 

Many young people work in artistic groups and circles on a re- 
gular basis. These include, among others, choirs, orchestras, ca- 
barets, photography, drawing and ceramic circles and sports 

Many families own gardens or country homes. The Association 
of Allotment Gardeners and Small Stock Breeders, the largest lei- 
sure organization in the GDR, has built small gardens close to ur- 
ban residential areas. These have been allocated by local councils, 
mainly to working class families and those with several children. 
These garden areas, often complete with own restaurants and re- 
tail outlets which are open to the general public, offer varied op- 
portunities for fulfilling leisure pursuits. 

More than 1,700 of the over 10,200allotment areas have been 
formally recognized as local recreation areas. The numerous gar- 
den festivals and exhibitions organized by the association prove of 
great interest to local residents. 

Many attractively laid-out wine bars, beer parlours, coffee 
shops, fast food stands and restaurants are available, in which peo- 
ple can enjoy leisure time with friends and family. 


Physical culture and sport are embodied in the Constitution as a 
fundamental right and are designed to "serve the all-round physi- 
cal and intellectual development of citizens" (Article 18 of the Con- 
stitution). For millions of people sport and physical activity are thus 
a source of happiness, joy, relaxation, recreation and well-being 
and make a considerable contribution to their health, fitness and 

The German Sports and Gymnastics Union 
of the GDR (DTSB) 

This socialist mass organization, to which 
35 sports associations are affiliated, has its roots in 
IQiHHj the antifascist and democratic sports movement 
and was founded in 1957. The DTSB has a total 
membership of around 3.6 million from all age 
groups, approximately 21.5 per cent of the popu- 
lation. More than 17, lOOenterprise sports clubs, local branches of 
the German Anglers' Association and motor sport clubs of the 
German Motor Sports Association as well as more than 
12,000sports groups are open to them for practicing and training, 
for taking part in competitions at various levels or just for keeping 
fit. Members pay a monthly fee of 0.20 marks (children), 
0.80 marks (young people) or T3G marks (aduits). 

The DTSB is democratic In its structure. All its officials - there 
are about 500,000sports administrators - are elected at regular in- 
tervals, from the individual sports departments In the associations 
and clubs right up to the district and cou nty executives and the Na- 
tional Executive. 

In addition, about 255,000 instructors and more than 
157,000 umpires and referees devote much of their free time to 
sport, ensuring a wide range of competitive events at all levels. For 
example, they are responsible for regular practice and training 
sessions and competitions in the enterprise sports clubs and do 
much to promote informal sporting activities in residential areas 
and holiday resorts. 

Other GDR sports organizations and bodies 

The State Secretariat for Physical Culture and Sports attached to 
the Council of Ministers is responsible for the planning and ma- 
nagement of matters significant to the state in the fields of physical 
culture and sport. These include sports science, notably sports 
medicine, initial and in-service training for physical education 
teachers and the provision of the necessary equipment and techni- 
cal conditions for sport to flourish. 

The National Olympic Committee (NOC} is the guardian of the 
Olympic movement in the German Democratic Republic. It re- 
presents the interests of the GDR athletes in the International 
Olympic movement and ensures their participation in the Olympic 
Games. The NOC of the GDR collaborates in this capacity with the 
International Olympic Committee (IOC), the organizing commit' 
tees of the Olympic Games, the NOCs of other countries and other 
bodies belonging to the international Olympic movement. Its 
members include proven sports administrators, the presidents of 
the sports associations and successful Olympic athletes. 

The Society for the Promotion of the Olympic Idea in the GDR is 
spreading the Olympic idea among the people and sees to it that 
Olympic principles are observed and respected. For this purpose 

Sport 245 

organizes exhibitions, events, competitions etc. and publishes 
information material. The society receives the support of many 
sport enthusiasts and gives financial support to the GDR's Olympic 

teams to help them buy equipment. 

The Society for Sports and Technical Pursuits (GST) is an orga- 
nization where interested young people may go in for such techni- 
cal sports as motor sport, aviation, parachuting, shooting, tele- 
communications and the construction of model aeroplanes, rail- 
ways, ships etc. 

Sport for everybody - 

main concern of the D I SB of the GDR 

In the GDR, as in many other countries, there is a growing demand 
for regular physical activity. Therefore, the German Sports ana 
Gymnastics Union has made it one of its most important tasks to 
satisfy this demand ever more effectively. As a socialist mass orga- 
nization the DTSB has set itself the aim of providing more and bet- 
ter sporting facilities for everybody, i.e. for more and more child- 
ren, young people and adults. 

In its efforts the DTSB collaborates closely with the trade unions 
(FDGB) and the youth organization (FDJ). Together with the FDGB 
and the FDJ, it has, for example, sponsored a joint programme 
aimed mainly at recreational and leisure sports and thus suc- 
ceeded in attracting increasing numbers of working people an 

apprentices. . 

In order to get as many girls and women involved in regular 

sport in residential areas and villages and to encourage them to 
participate in various forms of sporting events or hiking, the DTS 
concluded an agreement in 1984 with the Women's Democratic 
Federation of Germany (DFD). 

Among the large number of ideas and initiatives it is the various 
forms of mass competition which have gained particularly in popu- 
larity DTSB membership is not essential for participation in t ese 
events. Special highlights are the Mile Run, nation-wide table ten- 

246 Sport 

nis and volleyball tournaments, the family competition sponsored 
by the Fur Dich magazine and the annual apprentice competition 
to determine the strongest boy and most athletic girl. Aerobics is 
particularly popular among girls and women who enjoy doing sim- 
ple physical exercises to the sound of modern pop music. 

Other highlights are enterprise sports festivals or contests or 
ganized at local or district level. By taking partin competitions for 
the "Sports Badge of the GDFT everyone is able to test out their 
physical capability, which is assessed according to sex, age and 
certain norms. Every year the sports badge is awarded to millions 
of people in either gold, silver or bronze upon fulfillment of the 
required standards. 

In urban neighbourhoods, and to an increasing extent in smaller 
communities, ever better sporting opportunities are being pro- 
vided thanks to new swimming baths, sport centres and other 
public facilities for soccer, volleyball, basketball, bowling, table 
tennis and athletics. The FDGB holiday service and the FDj are 
helping to improve the opportunities for involvement in mass 
sports at holiday resorts, camping sites and youth clubs. 

The holding of major gymnastics and sports festivals is a tradi- 
tion of the German workers' sports movement. In 1987 Leipzig will 
be the venue for the 8th Sports and Gymnastics Festival and the 
11th Spartakiad Children's and Youth Games. 

The 1987 Sports Festival in Leipzig, which will as ever be held 
under the patronage of the GDR's head of state, will carry on the 
tradition of previous festivals and feature impressive mass gym 
nasties displays and a great variety of sporting competitions and 
cultural events. 

During the run-up to the Sports and Gymnastics Festival mil- 
lions of people will once again take part in mass competitions in 
such sports as table tennis, volleyball, bowling, fist ball, cross^ 
country or sport for the disabled in order to qualify for the final 
round in Leipzig. 

Sport 247 

Sport for the young 

Youth and sport are inseparable. Therefore, the DTSB, the youth 
organization, the Young Pioneer organization as well as the educa- 
tion and vocational training authorities attach particular import- 
ance to sport for youngsters and children. 

Even in the kindergarten, sports and games are a firm part of the 
daily timetable. Children do physical exercises and take part in 
simple competitions which respond to their urge to move. By 
means of such activities they are prepared for PE lessons at 

Sport is a compulsory subject in the curriculum of the general 
ten-year school and is treated on an equal footing with other sub- 
jects. Depending on their age, pupils attend two or three PE less- 
ons a week. In grade 5, for example, the teaching programme in- 
cludes the techniques and tactics of team handball, and in higher- 
grades pupils are trained in high jump. The PE teachers apply var- 

ied forms and methods so that every child keeps on moving as 
long as possible during the lessons. 

All seven- to ten-year-olds learn to swim under the supervi- 
sion of swimming instructors. Therefore, public indoor swim- 
ming pools are reserved for schoolchildren in the morning 
hours. At places where no such pools exist, the pupils are taken 
to the next indoor swimming pool once a month, That day they 
have the opportunity to swim for several hours. During summer 
also outdoor pools and lakes are used for swimming lessons. To 
put it in a nutshell, one rarely comes across a child who cannot 
swim by the age of ten. As with all other forms of training at 
school, swimming instruction is also free of charge. 

In addition, the school sports clubs and sports clubs of the DTSB 
offer the boys and girls a wide choice of sporting activities and lei- 

sure pursuits outside school. • | 

The youth organization has played a major role in the develop- 
ment of physical culture and sport in the GDR. Together with the 
trade unions, FDJ groups in enterprises encourage a lively interest 

in regular sporting activity among apprentices and young skilled 
workers. Challenge trophies presented by the FDGB, the FDJ and 
the Pioneer organization are contested every year. 

Every year tens of thousands of boys and girls take part in the 
Spartakiad Children's and Youth Games. The competitions in al- 
most every event begin with preliminary school heats, in which as 
many children and adolescents as possible should participate. By 
reaching a certain standard, the schoolchildren can qualify for an- 
nual competitions at district level. County and National Spartakiad 
Games take place every two years for both winter and summer 
sports events. The last Spartakiad Games were held in Oberhof in 
the winter of 1985 and in the summer of the same year in Berlin. 
About 1,300 competitors took part in the winter sports events, and 
in the summer games there were up to 12,000entries. Many new 
talents are discovered in this way. Olympic, World and European 
champions often began their sporting careers at the Spartakiad 
and were not always the victors. 

The GDR's Spartakiad movement represents the realisation of 
two aspects of the same thing, namely the all-round and harmoni- 
ous development of the younger generation. On the one hand, 
the overwhelming majority of children and adolescents engage 
in regular and organized sporting activities, and on the other 
hand especially talented girls and boys can be spotted and 

They can, for example, with their parents' consent exercise and 
train in a training centre, later on attend one of the children 
and youth sports schools and develop their talents to the full in 
sports and soccer clubs whilst at the same time not neglecting 
their academic and vocational training. Guidance and care for 
such young people are provided by qualified and experienced 
coaches, teachers, tutors, sports doctors, administrators and 

Some of them who so wish are given the opportunity to take up 
study lasting several years at the German College of Physical Cul 
ture in Leipzig, A number of outstanding GDR athletes have gradu- 

^ f ro m this sports college which was founded in 1950. Until 
1985 about 16, OOOfuU-time or part-time students completed their 
studies here, who today are working as P.E. teachers, coaches, 
sports administrators or in the field of sports science. 

Dedicated to the Olympic ideal 

The immortal ideas of the great advocate of sport and international 
understanding, Pierre Baron de Coubertin, notably to use sports 
as a vehicle for the all -round education of the you nger generation 
and a contribution to life in peace, have become characteristic fea- 
tures of the development of physical culture and sports in the 


For many years the DTSB has maintained a host of international 
sporting ties. The bonds with the Soviet athletes are particularly 
strong. The cooperation is based on a friendship treaty between 
the sporting organizations of the GDR and the USSR. Similar 
agreements have been signed with the sporting organizations of 
other socialist countries. 

In order to promote sport as a means of achieving international 
understanding and preserving peace, the GDR has entered into 
treaties or agreements with the executives of sport organizations 
in other countries. The GDR has sporting contacts with nearly 
100 countries. 

This cooperation includes the exchange of ideas. Thus every 
year delegations made up of leading sports officials from many 
countries visit the GDR in order to study the development of physi - 
cal culture and sport and to sign agreements with the executive of 
the GDR sports organization. 

To date about 2,000future P.E. teachers and sports administra- 
tors from 88 countries have been trained at the German College of 
Physical Culture in Leipzig. In this way the GDR is making an active 
contribution to the "Olympic Solidarity" programme of the IOC. 
Therefore it is not by chance that the college is called "College of 
* International Friendship 1 '. 

'art in Olympic Games for 
ry have stood on the vie- 
lympic Games, winning 

Health services 

Infant and maternal mortality 

Public spending on health and social services (in '0Q0 milfioi 
sions not included 

Infant mortality per '000 live 

Doctors, dentists and pharmacists 




Per 10,000 population 




Maternal mortality per 10,000 
live births 

Outpatient facilities 

Immunization schedule 

Type of immunization 

Tuberculosis (BCG) 

Polio (vaccine administered orally 

in three doses at intervals of 4 weeks against 

the three different types of virus) 

First vaccination against diphtheria, 

whooping cough and tetanus 

Second vaccination against 

diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus 

Third vaccination against 

diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus 


Polio (trivalent vaccine administered orally) 
Fourth vaccination against 
diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus 
Polio (trivalent vaccine administered orally). 

First week 
From third month 
to end of 1st year 

Average life expectancy 

Third month 



Fourth month 

Courses in spa treatment 

In 1985, over 360,000 spa treatment courses were prescribed, of which: 

two-thirds were for workers, one quarter of these for shift workers 
more than, half were for women 

Thirteenth month 
Second year 
Third year 


Eighth year 
Sixteenth ye 
Sixteenth ye 

Diphtheria and tetanus 

Tuberculin test, 

possible vaccination against tuberculosis 

Illnesses in which the number of cases has declined significantly 

infectious diseases that were once common and dangerous have be 
minated or controlled in the GDR; Gases of small pox, polio, diphthe 
tetanus no longer occur, while the incidence of tuberculosis, meas 
phoid and paratyphoid, infectious hepatitis and whooping cough f 
dined considerably. Less than one per cent of all deaths in the Gt 
caused by infectious diseases. 7 

Number of new 

Infectious hepatitis 
Whopping cough 

Holidays, leisure time and recreation 

Financing of holidays 
under the trade union scheme 

Subsidies financed 

from funds under enterprise 

or central management 

and from membership dues 

72 per cent 

Portion to be paid 

by individual 

union members 

28 per cent 

Holidays in 1985 

More than 12 million people went on holiday. 

Trade union holiday service j g m f|fj 0n 

Enterprise-run holiday service 3 t million 

v D ^T aVe! , A9ency o!e million 

Youth travel agency and other holidays 

organized for children and young adults 1.2 million 

Private travel 

[including camping holidays and 

Ipreign travel) 5.6 million 

Allotment gardens 

Between 1981 and 1985, some 96,000 allotment gardens were created, 
Which is an 80 per cent increase compared with the figure for the 1976-80 

7: 64,024 gardens, i.e. 66.6 per cent of the total, were allocated to working 
class and large families. 

The Association of Allotment Gardeners and Small Stock Breeders has a 
iota I membership of some 1,359,000. 

Growing demand fdr knowledge 

URANIA is a public organization responsible for the dissemination of scien- 
tific findings. It has 53,600 members. Overa|> participation in. the 1.9 mil- 
lion events it organized between 1981 and 1.98.5 (lectures, fora, excur- 
sions) stood at some 60 million people. 

Restaurants and public houses 

The GDR currently has over 26,000 restaurants and public houses run by 
the state, consumer cooperatives and private individuals. They cater for 
some 3.7 million people daily 

Between 1981 and 1985 some 9,000 restaurants were modernized, and 
2,000 of these redesigned from top to bottom. 

The most popular sports in 1985 

{number of those participating in the respective sport, thousands) 

580 Team handball 

515 Volleyball 

398 Table tennis 

205 Swimming 

189 Motpring 


Number of sports facilities opened between 1971 and 1985 

6,789 (total) 

among them 

2,207 sports grounds 

2,516 gymnasiums 

106 indoor swimming pools 


Number of Sports Badges of the GDR awarded (m Elf ions) 







German Sports and Gymnastics Union of the GDR (DTSB) 

Membership (millions) 







Percentage of population 






Medals won by GDR athletes at World and European Championships be- 
tween 1981 and 1985 

Gold Silver Bronze 

301 283 226 

Over the same period GDR athletes set 

• 86 world records 

• 90 European records 

Children and youth sports 

• In 1985, four out of five people between 6 and 18 years were members 
of school sports associations or sports associations of the DTSB. 

• Between 1981 and 1985, about one million girls and boys took part in the 
annual Children s and Youth Spartakiad Games at district level. 

Magdeburg Medical School carries out neurological tests using com 
puterfzed tomography. 

Talk with Prof. Moritz Me bel [fifth from left), director of the urologi 
cal clinic at the Charite teaching hospital in Berlin. 

99 per cent of mothers have their babies in hospital, all services be 
ing free of charge. 

Regular health checks on senior citizens is a major facet of the health 


Preventive examinations help keep people in good shape 

The spa facilities in Bad Elster are used by 34,000 patients a year 

The physically and menially handicapped receive special medical 

Children's sanatorium in Bad Salzungen. This establishment special 
izes in diseases of the respiratory system, (right) 


Sietgh rides through the Thuringian Forest are popular with holiday 

: - ; 

• v 

' j-- • - 

Saxon Switzerland, a favourite among the rock climbing fraternity, 
(above left) 

The park in Worlitz, the first and most important park in ISth-eentury 
Germany to be based on the English style, is popular with day-trip 

The Arkona cruise ship takes holidaymakers to Cuba, the Mediterra 
nean, the BJack Sea and the Baltic. 

Holiday with pienty to do at the international campsite in Meyers 
grund, Thuringia, (below) 


Recreation mosaic 

Karin Kama, several times Olympic and world champion 

The GDR handball team has been among the world's best for many 

... as have Lutz Hesslich (left) and Michael Hubner in sprint cvclinq 
(below) y ' 

junior skijumping tournament at the Spartakiad. (above) 

jogging is popular among young and old alike, (below) 

illM i 


272 The German Democratic Republic 


Area; 108,333 sq. km. (41,827 sq, miles). 

Borders: Baltic Sea in the north. Polish People's Republic in 
the east (length: 460 km or 286 miles), Czechoslovak Socialist 
Republic in the southeast (454 km or 282 miles), and Federal 
Republic of Germany in the southwest (1,378 km or 
856 miles). 

Capital: Berlin (pop. 1.2 million). 

Other major cities: (population in '000) Leipzig 556, Dresden 
520, Karl Marx Stadt 317, Magdeburg 289, Rostock 242, Halle 
236, Erfurt 215, Potsdam 138, Gera 131, Schwerin 126, Cottbus 
123, Zwickau 120, Jena 107, Dessau 104. 

Administrative structure: 15 counties, 191 districts and 36 ur- 
ban districts. 

Longest rrver: the Elbe (556 km in GDR territory). 

Largest lake: Muritz (115 sq. km. or 44.4 sq. miles). 

Largest island: Rugen (926 sq. km. or 357.5 sq. miles). 

Highest elevation: Fichtelberg (1,214 metres or 3,983 ft ). 

Use of land: 58 per cent farmland (arable land, pastures, 
meadowfand or gardens); 27 per cent forest, 13 per cent buil- 
t-up areas, roads, waterbodies and barren land. 


Population: 16.7 million, of which 53 per cent are female and 
47 per cent male. 

Population density: 154 inhabitants per sq km. (399 per 

sq, mile). 

Age distribution: 64 per cent of the population is of working 
age (women between 15 and 60, and men between 15 and 65 
years of age). 19 per cent are children, and 17 per cent are of 
retirement age. 

Settlement structure: 75 per cent of the population lives in ur- 
ban areas, 25 per cent in rural communities. Located in the 
midst of the GDR is West Berlin, a city whose political status is 
defined under the Quadripartite Agreement signed by the So- 
viet Union, the United States, France and Britain, 

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Natural History Museum 
Brecht House 
C ha rite Teaching Hospital 
GDR Academy of Arts 
Deutsches Theater and Kammer- 
spiele theatres 

Ciub of the artistic workers' union 

Berliner Ensemble 

Fried richstadtpalast variety theatre 

and night club 



Distel cabaret and Metropol thea- 

International Trade Centre 

Hotel Metropol 

Robert Koch Museum 

Brandenburg Gate 

Soviet Embassy 

Komlsche Qper 

Unter den Linden hotel 

German State Library 

Humboldt University 

German State Opera/ Alte Bibho- 


St Hed wig's Cathedral 

Memorial to the victims of fascism 

and militarism 

Maxim Gorki Theatre 

Central House of German -Soviet 


Museum of German History 
Palais Unter den Linden 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
F ried r ich s we rde rsch e Kirch e 
House of Soviet Science and Cul- 

Johannes R. Becher club for cultu- 
ral workers 

Platz der Akademie - Schauspiel- 

GDR Postal Museum 
Bode Museum 
Pergamum Museum 
National Gallery 
Altes Museum 
Berlin Cathedral 
Palace of the Republic 
Seat of the GDR Council of State 
SED Central Committee building/ 
Berlin SED Committee 
Berlin City Library/Ribbeck House 

45 Ermeler Haus restaurant/ Otto 
Nagel House 

46 Markisches Museum/ Berlin bears 

47 Palasthotel 

48 Marx Engels Forum 

49 Historic heart of the clty/Nikolai- 

50 Marienkirche 

51 TV tower/Berlin tourist informa- 
tion and exhibition centre 

52 Berlin City Hall/Council headquar- 
ters and meeting-place of the city 

53 GDR Council of Ministers building 

54 Ruin of Franciscan monastery 

55 Young People's cultural centre 

56 Volksbuhne theatre 

57 CENTRUM department store 

58 Hotel Stadt Berlin 

59 GDR Travel Agency/ INTERFLUG 

60 Teachers' Centre/Congress Hall 

61 Hotel Be ro I i na/ 1 ntern at ion a l cin- 
ema , , 

52 Monument to Polish soldiers and 
German antifascists 

63 Marche nbrunnen fountain 

64 Monument to the German section 
of the International Brigades 

65 Cemetery tor those who died In 
the March 1848 revolution 

66 Monument to Lenin 

67 Sport and Recreation Centre 





Underground railway 
Suburban electric railway 

Museum/Exhibition rooms 


Travel agency 
State border 

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1 Natural History Museum 

2 Brecht House 

3 Charlte Teaching Hospital 

4 GD r Academy of Arts 

5 Deutsches Theater and Kammer- 
spiele theatres 

6 Club of the artistic workers' union 

7 Berliner Ensemble 

8 Fried rich stadtpa last variety theatre 
and night club 

9 Synagogue 

-H) Sophienkirche 

11 Distel cabaret and Metropol thea- 

12 International Trade Centre 

13 Hotel Metropol 

14 Robert Koch Museum 

15 Brandenburg Gate 

16 Soviet Embassy 

17 Komische Qper 

18 Unter den Linden hotel 

19 German State Library 

20 Humboldt University 

21 German State Gpera/Alte Blblio- 
thek/ Rebel platz 

22 St Hed wig's Cathedral 

23 Memorial to the victims of fascism 
and militarism 

24 Maxim Gorki Theatre 

25 Central House of German -Soviet 

26 Museum of German History 

27 Palais Unter den Linden 

28 Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

29 Fried rich swerdersche Kirch e 

30 House of Soviet Science and Cul- 

31 Johannes FL Becher club for cultu- 
ral workers 

32 Platz der Akademie - Schauspiel- 

45 irmeler Haus restaur 
Nagel House 

46 Markisches Museuiru 

47 Palasthotel 

48 Marx Engels Forum 

49 Historic heart of the 

50 Marienkirche 

51 TV tower/Berlin toui 
tion and exhibition c 

52 Berlin City Hall/Cou 
ters and meetkig-pk 

53 GDR Council of Min 

54 Ruin of Franciscan r 

55 Young People's cult 

56 Volksbuhne theatre 

57 CENTRUM departm 

58 Hotel Stadt Berlin 

59 GDR Travel Agency 

60 Teachers' Centre /C 

61 Hotel BeroHna/ Intel 

62 Monument to Polisl 
German antifascists 

63 Marche nbrunnen f( 

64 Monument to the i 
of the International 

65 Cemetery for tbos( 
the March 1848 rei 

66 Monument to Leni 

67 Sport and Recreati 


33 GDR Postal Museum 

34 Spittelmarkt 

35 Bode Museum 

36 Perga mum Museum 

37 National Gallery 

38 Altes Museum 

39 Berlin Cathedral 

40 Palace of the Republic 

41 Seat of the GDR Council of State 

42 SED Central Committee building/ 
Berlin SED Committee 

43 Berlin City Library/ Rib beck House 

44 Muhlendamm sluice 




Suburban e 








Travel age 

State bord 

che history of Berlin stretches back 750 years, First mentioned in 
Jocuments as the fishermen's village Colin in 1237 and the mer- 
“ h ants' village Berlin in 1244, both settlements merged into one 
community in 1307. The area of this former double town is situ- 
ated on both sides of the river Spree in the city centre not far 
away from Marx Engels Platz. 

The rest of its history was marked by many changes: first of 
all, Berlin joined the Hanseatic League, a powerful alliance of 

medieval towns on the coasts of the Battle Sea and the No n\\ 
Sea H became the seat of the Electoral Prince of the Mark Bran, 
den burg in the middle of the 1 5th century, was declared the cap. 
ital of the new Prussian Empire in 1701, and later on became the 
capital of the new Prussian German Empire in 1871. Due to Ber- 
lin's favourable position for traffic, an increasing number of in- 
dustries developed here from the beginning of the 19th century. 
Thus Berlin became one of the most important industrial cities 
on the European continent. The working class was growing rap 
idly. In 1920, more than four million people were living here. 
Whereas the ruling bourgeoisie lived in exclusive residential 
areas, the working masses were crammed into squalid dwellings 
and tenement houses which were only accessible through the 
courtyard and were almost never lit by the sun. Thus Berlin be 
came the world's biggest city of tenement houses. 

The deep social contradictions in the 19th century and the first 
half of the 20th century turned the city into the scene of power- 
ful revolutionary struggles of the working class and its a ies. 
From this time onwards the struggle between progress and reac 
tion became the decisive element in the course of history. Twice 
- in 1914 and 1939 - devastating world wars emanated from Bar 

The smashing of fascism by the Soviet Union and her allies un- 
ited within the Anti-Hitler Coalition offered liberated Berlin an 
historic opportunity to break out of the vicious circle of crisis 
and war. 

When on 2 May 1945 the guns fell silent, Berlin was nothing 
but a heap of rubble. About 50,000 out of the 245,000 pre-war 
buildings had been destroyed completely. There was no water, 
no electricity, no gas Food was lacking, and there was a danger 
of epidemic. In May 1945, the population was over 2.5 million- 

Antifascists, Communists and Social Democrats took the initia- 
tive in order to normalize public life and induce a new political 




_ + which lost 20 000 soldiers during the libera ^ 

Z Sn aZ gaie the local popol.tlon immediate -PP°« 
Zoviding .he people “'^^eZotv’ahdTlranZ 

hew beginning in intellectual 

other Allies made in 194 . - r ,j in or . 

Great Britain and France were moved to Berli nnjuly^ ^ ^ 


the four-power adm,n, ^° n , ° d introd uced in the Western 
tending the currency ^ej ° ^ sectors of Berlin as well. 

rc"p“ was soon followed by rbe roral division o, rhe 

X December 1948, separate elections tor . West Be* P. rlla- 
men, were held In the Western grown 

lin had mJrethan^OO years was disrupted by imperial- 

S ZZTsVpZber T 9 49-was thwarted by an jbjjjj 
USSR. The western powers .acknowledged tha, 

West Berlin cannot be regarded as P a _ c pepublic was 
On 7 October 1949 the German Democratic Repuo 

founded. As the capital of the first socialist state on German soil, 
Berlin embarked upon the road into a peaceful future, In this city 
[all progressive achievements and traditions of German history 
have been preserved. 

I With great commitment and vigour the Berliners cl 
the rubble. At this time what is now known as Karl 
was built— a symbol of the city's reconstruction. 

I However, l..« 

was constantly hindered by West Berlin. The open 

the socialist construction of the capital of the GDR 

i border be- 

tween the capital of the GDR and West Berlin was used for espio- 
nage and sabotage, currency speculations, large-scale smug- 
gling of goods and brain drain. Together with the Soviet Union 
and the other socialist states the GDR made consistent but re- 
grettably unsuccessful efforts to solve the West Berlin problem, 
which remained unsettled, by way of negotiation. 

On 13 August 1961 the government of the GDR, following a 
recommendation by the member states of the Warsaw Treaty, 
took measures to secure and reliably control its state border with 
West Berlin and the FRG. With these steps the GDR helped pre- 
serve peace in Europe and made clear the special political status 
of West Berlin. 

Berlin is the hub of the country's political, economic and intel- 
lectual life. It is the seat of the supreme governmental bodies of 
the GDR-the People's Chamber, the Council of State and the 
Council of Ministers. Here the Socialist Unity Party of Germany 
(SED) holds its congresses whose decisions point the way in the 
struggle for peace and social security. 

Through its development into the pulsating metropolis of the 
first workers' and farmers' state on German soil, Berlin has 
earned itself a completely new reputation in the international ar- 
ena, Formerly a stronghold of German militarists and imperial- 
ists, Berlin now turned into a city of peace and international 

friendship. . , 

At the beginning of the seventies, important impulses origi- 

Palace of the Republic, 

Platz der Akademie with the Schauspielhaus and the French Catne 




nated from the GDR's capital to bring about a positive chanqe in 
Europe through abandoning the policy of Cold War and turnina 
to detente- The G DR supported the conclusion of the Quadrinar. 
tite Agreement on West Berlin in September 1971 which resulted 
in a perceptible relaxation of tensions at this focal point of world 

Berlin became a city of international conferences. In May 1974 
for the first time an official UN body came to the city in order to 
old a Special Session of the Anti-Apartheid Committee of the 
United Nations. In October 1975 Berlin was the venue of the 
World Congress on the occasion of International Women's Year. 
Otner highlights were the meeting of 29 European Communist 
and workers' parties in June 1976 and the International Scientific 
Conference "Karl Marx and our Time-the Struggle for Peace 
and Social Progress" held in April 1983, in which representatives 
of 145 parties and movements from 111 countries participated 
Heads of state, diplomats and politicians from all parts of the 
world paid visits to Berlin as official guests, for example from the 
Soviet Union, Nicaragua, France, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, 
the Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, Great Britain etc 
In February 1979 the World Peace Council awarded the capital 
of the GDR the honorary title "City of Peace", in recognition of 
its services for peace and understanding among people. Berlin is 
the origin of numerous initiatives for creating a world-wide coali- 
tion of common sense and realism in order to avert a nuclear 
war which would wipe out human civilization. 

Berlin is the largest industrial centre in the country, the most 
important industries being electronics and electrical engineer- 
ing, mechanical engineering, chemical industry as well as the 
hght and food industries. Major combines such as the nationally 
owned Kabelwerk Oberspree "Wilhelm Pieck", Elektro-Appa 
rate-Werk "Friedrich Ebert" and Werkzeugmaschinenkombinat 
7. Oktober" play an important role in strengthening the econ 
omic potential of the capital. Other combines, for example Auto- 

one of the arterial roads of former Berlin— Into a modern main 
street. More than 70 per cent of today's housing stock in Berlin 
was newly built or modernized after 1945, New hotels, depart- 
ment stores, shops, restaurants, the Ernst Thalmann Pioneer Pa- 
lace, a recreation centre and the new building of the Charite 
hospital complex have also been built during this period. The 
pace of construction Is without precedent in the long history of 
the city. Thousands of construction workers, in particular young 
people from all counties of the GDR, help make Berlin more 
beautiful, more comfortable and a pleasant city to live in. 

The socialist state allocates substantial sums to the preserva- 
tion of monuments. During the reconstruction of the city centre 
buildings were restored and preserved which are part of the na- 
tional heritage or played an important role in the history of the 

Between 1950 and 1960 such monuments were restored as the 
world-famous Brandenburg Gate and parts of the historic Lind- 
enforum on Unter den Linden avenue consisting of the Hum- 
boldt University, the Deutsche Staatsoper (State Opera House), 
the Neue Wache (Guardhouse) and the former Zeughaus (Ars- 
enal) which today houses the Museum of Germany History. One 
of the most well-known squares in Europe, the Platz der Akade- 
mie with the Schauspielhaus built by Schinkel, the French Cathe- 
dral and the German Cathedral (restoration still underway) has 
been restored to its original splendour. In the area around the 
Nikolaikirche, Berlin's oldest restored church, situated as it is be- 
tween the Rotes Rathaus (Red Townhali) and the river Spree, an 
architectural ensemble has been erected at the place where Ber- 
lin was originally founded which comprises buildings whose fa- 
cades were shaped in accordance with historical architectural 
styles and whose dwellings are equipped with all modern ameni- 

Berlin is an important centre of science. About one fifth of the 

GDR's academic resources are concentrated here. An outstand- 

matisierungsanlagenbau and NARVA Berliner Gluhlampenfabrik, 
have concluded agreements with the Academy of Sciences i or- 
der to coordinate their work and cooperate on economic pro^ 
jects. The aim of this exemplary link between science and pro- 
duction is the Introduction of key technologies which will elp 
attain a high economic growth rate. The capital's share in the 
overall Industrial output of the GDR amounts to more than 5.4 
per cent. Between 1971 and 1985 manufacturing output in indus- 
try increased by 114 per cent, and labour productivity by 102 oer 

This continuous economic growth has been the basis for rais- 
ing the standard of living of all working people. The housing pro- 
gramme has changed the face of the capital significantly. Si ce 
1971, 250,000 dwellings have been newly built or modernizer so 
that living conditions could be improved for more than 680, 00 
Berliners. Since 1976 in the north-eastern borough of Berlin Mar- 
zahn a new residential area has been erected where more than 
170,000 people are now living. Other boroughs-Hohensch n- 
hausen and Hellersdorf-are just being built. 

At the beginning of the 1980s modernization and refurbish: ig 
of buildings in the inner city assumed new dimensions. The 
overwhelming part of this housing stock dates back to the turn of 
this century. Ugly courtyards have been got rid of or given a 
facelift. One of the most striking examples of modern housing n 
Berlin is the recently built Thalmannpark residential area. It is si- 
tuated amidst the traditional working class borough of Prenz- 
lauer Berg, at the site of a former gas works which was pulled 
down for environmental reasons. This ensemble of high-rise 
blocks of flats within a newly fashioned park landscape has been 
given the honorary name of the German working class lead r 
Ernst Thalmann who was murdered by the Nazis. Wilhelm Pleck 
Strasse, named after the first president of the GDR, is another 
testimony to the modernization of older housing quarters. 

In 1985, the first steps were taken to convert Friedrichstrasse - 

Wilhelm Pieck cable works 

Ernst Thafmann Park housing estate 

Rehabilitated homes in the Berlin borough of Prenzlauer Berg. 

Humboldt University 




ing role in academic life is played by the Academy of Sciences 
which was founded by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the ear 
1700, The academy was reconstructed in 1946 and today com- 
prises 72 institutes and establishments with a staff of a out 

The Humboldt University is the largest and leading university 
in the GDR. Today thousands of students are enrolled at this uni- 
versity and the 7 colleges and 17 technical schools in Berlin 

The Academies of Arts, Agricultural Sciences, Pedagog cal 
Sciences, Social Sciences, the School of Architecture and many 
other institutions make an important contribution to the flourish- 
ing of the arts and sciences. 

Thanks to the reconstruction of the destroyed theatres and the 
commitment of world-famous performing artists, for example d- 
uard von Winterstein, Paul Wegener, Ernst Busch and Helene 
Weigel, Berlin's theatrical life was able to catch up with inter a- 
tional standards at the beginning of the 1950s. Above all, the 
plays staged by Bertolt Brecht in the Beriiner Ensemble as well as 
Walter Felsenstein's realistic music theatre at the Komisc e 
Oper soon came to enjoy great renown all over the world. T e 
Deutsches Theater became known for staging important worl s 
of German literary heritage. At present, 13 theatres and 5 
stages attached to them offer a wide variety of interesting pro- 
ductions: contemporary and classical plays, satirical revue, var- 
iety, opera, operetta, youth theatre and puppet shows. 

About 3,000 performances are staged every year which have 
total audience of about 1.7 million theatre-goers. 

Between 1955 and 1958 the Soviet Union gave back to thi 
GDR all those treasures of art from the Berlin Museum Island 
which were rescued by the Soviet army in spring 1945 and care 
fully restored by Soviet experts. Among them were paintings 
from the Berlin National Gallery, exhibits from the Antiques Col 
lection and, above alf, the famous Pergamum Altar. 

Thus Berlin regai ned its former worldwide reputation as a mu - 




geum city. Every year, more than 3 million people from all over 
-he world come to visit the 26 museums and galleries in Berlin in 
order to acquaint themselves with treasures of world culture. 

The opening of the Schauspielhaus (concert hall with 1,850 
seats) on the Piatz der Akademie, which has become the home of 
the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Singakademie, was an 
important contribution to enriching Berlin's cultural life. Famous 
symphonic and chamber orchestras as the Wiener Philharmoni- 
ker, the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nouvel Or- 
chestre Philharmonique of Radio France and the Leningrad Phil- 
harmonic Orchestra gave concerts at this historic place. 

! | n 1934 the Friedrichsfadtpalast which is famous for its variety 
shows moved into a new building in Friedrichstrasse. It has a ca- 
pacity of 1,900 seats and forms part of the familiar Berlin city- 
scape which combines old and new. 

Trip around Berlin's lakes with the White Fleet. 


Sport and Recreation Centre in Berlin 


The Counties of the GDR 

Cottbus county 

Area: 8,262 square kilometres (3,190sq. miles) 

Population: 900,000 

Population density: 109 inhabitants per sq. km (282 per sq. 

Cottbus county supplies over half of the GDR's lignite and electri- 
city and produces about 80 per cent of the country's total output of 
urban gas. The largest power generation enterprises are the Box- 
berg and Janschwalde power stations and the Schwarze Pumpe 
gas complex, Europe's biggest lignite refining plant. 

The chemical, textile and glass industries are other major ele- 
ments in the county's economic profile. These include, for exam- 
ple, the synthetic fibre manufacturing plant in Wilhelm PieckStadt 
Guben, the Schwarzheide synthesizing plant and a factory for 
manufacturing colour television tubes in Tschernitz, The local 
glass industry accounts for more than half of the country s total 
output in a number of items. The most important enterprise in 
Cottbus, the county capital (pop. 125,000), is the textile com- 

Over 40 per cent of the county's area is used for agricultural 
purposes. In Spreewald, a unique meadowland area in the GDR 
cut through by hundreds of waterways, market gardening and 
fish-farming are the dominant industries. 



former open-cast mining sites. For example, in the vicinity of the 
mining town of Senftenberg a new holiday and recreation centre 
has been built around a man-made lake where a depleted open- 
cast mining pit left a 1,250- hectare (3,1 13 acres) trough. 61 out of 
the county's 113 recreation areas feature bathing beaches 32 of 

|| . ■ 

- •=> v iiiiuiueiecrronics (e g 

the Rotaotron combine), and light and food industries. Moreover, 
there are important metallurgical works, such as the steel rolling 
mills in Groditz, Riesa and Freital and a textile industry Other not 
able goods which are well reputed also on international markets 
include X-ray equipment, cameras and pharmaceuticals from 
Dresden, furniture from I lollerau, and porcelain from Meissen. 

Q n/M- rt ^ *1-1. - -f J.L , _ ■ .. . . •• ■ 1. . r ■ - 

... ... r- r" — '.y ; ^ y i i : u , 

The Technical University of Dresden, the Nuclear Research 
Centre in Rossendorf, the Manfred von Arcfenne Institute and the 

Ht/niono A/InnnM rvv « J » i 

in the county. 

The city of Dresden has an international reputation as an artistic 
and cultural centre. The musical traditions, maintained and dis- 
played bv the Staatskaoplfo the hro^«n i 

: , | . 

V Masters, Prunes Gew&ibe; PorceJam G 
* known worldwide: Dresden attracts ov 


. four million visitors each year from around the country and . 
abroad. Places of particular interest include the Zwinger, the re- 
constructed Semper Opera, palaces and parks (for instance in 
|. Piftnitz and Moritzburg) and the new city centre. 

The county offers many opportunities for holidays and recrea- 
tion in the Elbsandsteingebirge, known as "Saxon Switzerland", 
| : the Lusatian mountain area, the Zittau Range and ancient towns 
V such as Meissen, noted for its porcelain manufacturing, castle and 
h cathedral, and Bautzen with its more than thousand-year his 

Erfurt county 

Area: 7,349 square kilometres (2,837 sq. miles) 

Population: 1,237,100 

Population density: 168 inhabitants per sq. km (436 per sq, 


The economy of Erfurt county is dominated by the combines and 
enterprises of the electrical engineering, electronics and, particu- 
larly, the microelectronic industries. Other important industries 
include machine, plant and vehicle manufacturing, potash min- 
ing, cement production and light and food industries. As a major 
manufacturer of microelectronic components the Kombinat Mi- 
kroelektronik in Erfurt bears great responsibility for boosting 
science and technology and utilizing modern technologies at an 
accelerated pace, an important factor in the GDR economy. One 
quarter of all semiconductor devices and electronic components 
are produced in enterprises located in Erfurt county. 

Other enterprises in Erfurt county constitute a large proportion 
of the GDR's total industrial output. For instance 100 per cent of 
electronical typewriters, 90 per cent of ail watches and alarm 
clocks, over 64 per cent of all cold working machinery and shears, 
almost half of all potash fertilizers, more than one third of all cars 
(at the Wartburg factory), half of all diesel engines and half of all 
knitwear are made here. 

Farmland accounts for 64 per cent of the county's total area, 
with woodland comprising a further 22 per cent. For centuries, 


the area surrounding the county capital of Erfurt (pop, 212,000) has 
been a centre of ftowergrowing and nursery gardening. Erfurt ex- 
ports seeds to all corners of the globe, and hosts an annual interna- 
tional horticultural show, known as the iga. 

The county is rich in tradition. The poets Goethe and Schiller 
lived in Weimar, In the early 16th century, Martin Luther trans- 
lated the Bible into German in Wartburg castle near Eisenach, thus 
laying the foundations of the modern German language, Thomas 
Muntzer, the leader of the revolutionary populace in the German 
Peasants War of 1524-25, worked in Muhlhausen. 

Monuments to the workers' movement are located in Eisenach, 
Erfurt and Gotha. The former Nazi concentration camp in Buchen 
wald, in the vicinity of Weimar, is an important memorial site, 
where visitors from around the world reiterate the obligation 
''Never again fascism, never again war." 

Frankfurt (Oder) county 

Area: 7, 186 square kilometres (2,775sq. miles) 

Population: 706,800 

Population density: 98 inhabitants per sq, km (255 per sq, 

Once a backward, purely rural area, Frankfurt (Oder) county has 
developed into an industrial and agricultural area. Its metallurgical 
products, motor fuel, petrochemicals and newsprint have a solid 
reputation throughout the country. The county's industrial profile 
is shaped by a number of industries and enterprises. These in- 
clude the Ost iron and steel complex and the newly-built town of 
EisenhuttenstadUhe petrochemical complex, the pulp and paper 
plant in the new town of Schwedt, a semiconductor factory in the 
county capital of Frankfurt (pop, 85,000}, the crane works in Ebers- 
walde, and the cement factory in Rudersdorf. 

About half of the total land area is used for farming, 80 per cent 
of this for crops. The Oder valley Is predominantly used for veg- 
etable growing, both outdoors and in hothouses. 

Forests, covering about 36 per cent of the total territory, lakes 
and rivers are ideal for sports, camping and recreation. 


tn the Seelow Heights a monument has been erected to those 
who fell in the spring of 1945. In the deciding battle for Bedm 
33,000 Soviet soldiers gave their lives for the l iberation of the Ger- 
; man people from fascism. 

Gera county 

Area: 4,004square kilometres (1,546sq. miles) 

Population: 741,000 

Population density: 185 inhabitants per sq. km (479 per sq. 

Electrical engineering, electronics and equipment manirfacUiring 
have come to dominate industrial production in Gera county. The 
product range includes special engineering equipment 

croelectronics and consumer goods. ... 

The Carl Zeiss Jena combine is known worldwide for its preci- 
sion opto-eiectronical instruments. The combine exports to cus- 
tomers in over 100 countries around the world. Gera, the county 
capital (pop. 132,000), Saalfeld and Zeulenroda are centres o m 
chine toot building. Other important products are synthetic fibre 
manufacturing in Schwarza, textiles in Greiz, household china 
Kahla, industrial ceramics in Hermsdorf and furniture in Zeulen- 

f ° Approximately half of the territory is used for agricultural pur- 
noses and 37 per cent is forested. 

P The Friedrich Schiller University, located in Jena, is a centre of 
learning steeped in tradition. The Zeiss planetarium is another at- 

traction for any visitor to Jona. 

This county in the Thuringian region is one of the most popu 
holiday and recreation centres. Several interesting memorials are 
located in Gera county, including those to Johann Wo 9 an 9 ^ 

Goethe in Grosskochberg, to the educationalist Fneoric ro 
Bad Blankenburg and to the natural scientist Ernst Haeckel 




Halle county 

Area: S,771 square kilometres (3,3fS6sq. miles) 

Population: 1,791,000 

Population density: 204 inhabitants per sq. km (529 per sq, 

The industrial profile of Halle county is dominated by the chemical 
industry. Chemical complexes are located in Leuna and Buna to 
the south of the county capital of Halle^pop. 23^000}, and there is 
a chemical combine in Bitterfeld and the ORWO film factory In 
Wolfen. The CMEA special organization for the chemical industry , 
Interchim, has its headquarters in Halle county. 

Other major industries include mechamcaf engineering and 
plant construction in Halle and the rolling stock plant in Dessau. 
Over 50 per cent of all cement in the CDR is produced in Halle 

Seven institutions of higher learning are located in the county, 
the best known being the Martin Luther University of Halle- Wit- 
tenberg, the Carl Schorlemmer College of Technology in Leuna 
Merseburg and the Institute of Industrial Design at Giebichenstein 

The county's 83 nature reserves offer a balance to the industrial 
landscape, providing opportunities for recreation and relaxation. 
Seventy-seven museums house art/ history and natural sciences 
collections. The Luther memorials in Wittenberg and Eisleben are 
Internationally known. Memorials to Thomas Muntzer and the 
German Peasants War are located in Bad Franken hausen and Heb 
drungen. An annual music festival and a museum commemorate 
the composer Georg Friedrich Handel whose birthplace was 

The historical town centre of Quedlinburg/ in the Harz Moun- 
tains, and the cathedral in Naumburg are other noteworthy sights 
in Halle county. 

Karl Marx Stadt county 

Area: 6,009 square kilometres (2,320 sq. miles) 

Population den inhabitants per sq. km {825 per sq. mile) 

Karl Marx Stadt county is a centre of the metal-wpi king industry 
and of consumer goods products. Main ^ 

cal and automotive engineering and textile manU c 9 

household ashing M co^ohL 

manu'factttmcMfltlie MZ motorcycle wfa « 

wpI! Other important Industries include eiectri|ai : engineering, 
nonte-hs «d minf^^or • £ 

nrise in Kad Marx Stadt, the county capital (pop. 320,000), is 
Frit, Heekert machine tool combine. Klingemhal is renowned lor 
S mus“.l instruments and Seiffen -or its wooden to,s and local 

ha u"k production is the main agricultural activity in the 

“inlddition to Its industrial strength the county features prom,- 
nent educational and sc, entitle institutions. The Schoo of Mm.* 
(tergakademie! in Freiberg, founded in 1765. is the olpes. of Its 

k '™rty' pe^m of the county is woodland. The Erzgebirge and 
Vogtland regions are popular holiday and recreation areas, part,- 
culariy for winter sports. 


Leipzig county 

Area: 4,966square kilometres (1,917sq H miles) 

Population; 1,384,000 

Population density: 279 inhabitants per sq. km (722 per sq. 

Leipzig county is marked by a concentration of major industrial 
and construction combines. Key industries are mechanical 
engineering and plant construction, chemical production, coal 
and energy, construction materials, glass, ceramics and printing. 

Seventy per cent of the territory is farmland and 13 per cent is 
covered with forests. Leipzig-Markkleeberg hosts the biennial 
"agra", the GDR's agricultural exhibition. 

Leipzig county is a weii-respected centre of science and re- 
search. Approximately 38,QQ0students are enrolled at the nine in- 
stitutes of higher learning, including the Karl Marx University, and 
at the 27 technical colleges located there. The colleges of music, 
graphic art and book design and the German College for Physical 
Culture (DHfK) are also well known. Tens of thousands of students 
from 130 countries, particularly from newly Independent nations, 
have attended German language courses at the Herder Institute in 
preparation prior to enrolment at a university or technical college 
in the GDR. 

Leipzig, the county capital, (pop, 558,000), owes its international 
reputation primarily to the trade fairs which have been held there 
for 820 years now. Leipzig is also the second largest industrial cen- 
tre in the GDR and a major centre of the fur industry. The 
Deutsche Biicherei, located in Leipzig, is a library that has col- 
lected all German-language literature for over 70 years. 

The Gewandhaus Orchestra and Thomanerchor exemplify the 
city's longstanding musical traditions. 

The monument to the Battle of Nations, the Renaissance-style 
town half, the St Thomas' Church with the tomb of Johann Sebas- 
tian Bach and the Bach Museum in the Bosehaus building are 
among the noteworthy sights in town. The Lenin Memorial and DI- 
mitroff Museum are devoted to significant events in the history of 
the German and international working-class movement. 

Magdeburg county 

Area: 11,526square kilometres (4,450sq. miles) 

Population: 1,252,500 

Population density: 109 inhabitants per sq. km (281 per sq. 

Heavy industry and plant construction is concentrated in Magde- 
burq county. The chemical industry, electrical engineering and 
light and food industries are also located there. Almost 70 per xen 
of the county's industrial output is produced in combines and en- 
C&Tm**** engineering and vehicle construe on 
(35 P per cent), food processing (20 per cent), and the chemical in- 

dU M^!ieb^. te’eount, capital (pop. 289.000) is an Important 
traffic junction and has the largest inland port in the G ^ R - 
Magdeburg county has the largest farming area in he GDR. 
rankshrst in livestock farming and excels in livestock and crop 

Pr r d he C mo n st prominent of the county’s educational I"***™- 
which include three colleges and 16 technics I . 
von Guericke Technical College in Magdeburg, in addition, a 
number of industrial research centres and scientific msttobom 
specialized on agriculture and food processing are located 

^Approximately one quarter of the territory is forest. Wermger 
ode district in the Harz mountains is one of the most popular ho 
day areas in the GDR. The cathedral and cloister in Magdeburg 
the cathedral in Halberstadt with its renowned treasures ; and tN 
feudal museum in the castle of Wernigerode are among the no 


Neubrandenburg county 

Area: 10, 795 square kilometres (4,170 sq. miles) 

Population: 621,000 

Population density: 58 inhabitants per sq km {149 per sq. 

Until 1 945, the area that is now Neubrandenburg county was one 
of the most backward parts of Germany. A visit to the agricultural 
museum In the village of Ait Schwerin gives an impression of how 
people once lived and worked ib.the pbor villages of the area. 

Today, Neubrandenburcj is a developed agricultural and Indus 
trial county. More than 20 per cent of the county's workforce are 
employed in industry, the overwhelming maiqrity of them in one 
of the newty established large-scale enterprises, such as that for 
food processing machinery or the tyre works in the county capital 
of Neubrandenburg (pop, 83,000), the fittings plant in Prehzlau, 
the corrugated cardboard works In Waren or the carpet factory in 
Mai chow. 

More than 60 per cent of the land loused for agricultural pur- 
poses. Primarily it Is used for defeats, potato and sugar beet grow- 
ing as well asfodder production and as pasture land. The county is 
self - s uff tci e n t i n fob d stuffs and, mo reo ver, p rovi d e s -fob d to 
1.5 million people in other parts of the G DR- 

Extensive forests and over 80Q lakes provide holiday opportuni- 
ties for over 650,000 people annuaJiy, and weekend recreation for 
three mtinon residents of the cdunty; 

Sightseeing attractions in the county capital include the almost 
intact medieval town wafts with the four gates, the cultural centre 
and the new boroughs. y , , - : . • .. 1} 


I Potsdam county 

Area: 12,568 square kilometres ( 4 , 852 sq. miles} 
f Population: 1,121,000 

| Population density: 89 inhabitants per sq, km (231 per sq, m»e) 

C. ‘ 

i Potsdam county, the largest in area, developed into an efficient 
: semi-industrial region. Its most important industries include iron 
y and steel (crude and roiled steel), electrical engineering and etec- 
: tronics with emphasis. on microelectronics, precision engineering 
-and optical instruments, vehicle manufacture (W 50 lorries), 
chemicals (polyester and polyacryt fibres), heavy engineering, 
plant construction and food. 

Agriculture accounts for . approximately 25 per cent of t e 
county 's gross output. Crop production is mainly concentrated on 
cereals and fodder. The county's livestock production coopera- 
tives supply fatstock, milk and eggs and are engaged in cattle rais- 

; ihg. The largest fruit-grovying area in the GDR covering some 
:1 0,000 hectares and using Industrial methods, has been set up in 

the region of Potsdam 1 and Werder. 

Potsdam county features the most extensive forests in the GDR 
(in total, 420 , 000 hectares are woodland) and Is a major supplier of 

timber. - .. . 

Educational and research institutions located in the county in- 
clude the Academy of Political Sciences and Law, the College of 

Education, the College of Cinematography and Television, the In- 
stitute of Nutritional Sciences and other institutes attached to the 
GDR's Academy of Sciences. . 

Attractions in the county capital of Potsdam (pop. 139,500) in- 
clude the palaces and parks of Sans Souei, which are visited by 
some two million people from the GDR and abroad every year. Ce- 
cilienhof palace, the place where the Potsdam Agreement was 
signed in 1945,and the sites of the former Nazi concentration 
camps of Sachsenhausen and Ravensbruck are now places of ad- 
monition and contemplation, r ; c . . . nj; . : 


Rostock county 

Area: 7,074 square kilometres (2,731 sq. miles) 

Population: 901,722 

Population density: 127 inhabitants per sq. km (330 per sq. 

Shipbuilding is the main industry in Rostock county. The major 
shipyards are located in Rostock (pop. 244,000), Wismar, Stral- 
sund and Wolgast. They build most of the ships for the GDR's mer- 
chant and fishing fleets and a whole range of ships for export to 
many countries. A diesel engine factory and a ship electronics 
works in Rostock, a communications electronics plant and a fish- 
processing combine in Greifswald are other vital industries. 

Chalk needed for industrial purposes is extracted on the island 
of Riigen . 

Merchant shipping and port operations are prominent branches 
of the county's economy. The seaports of Rostock, Wismar and 
Stralsund handle nearly 50 per cent of the GDR's international 
trade. The ferry services between Rostock-Warnemunde and 
Gedser, Denmark, and between Sassnitz and Trelleborg, Sweden, 
are important transportation links to Scandinavia. 

Approximately 70 per cent of the land is used for farming, with 
grain and livestock as the principal branches. Forests account for 
16 per cent of the total area. 

The major educational institutions are the Wilhelm Pieck Uni- 
versity in Rostock and the Ernst Moritz Arndt University in 
Greifswald. Cultural traditions in the most northerly county of 
the G DR are upheld by the Navigation Museum in Rostock, the 
former Franciscan monastery in Greifswald, the Oceanographic 
Museum in Stralsund, the Gerhart Hauptmann Museum on Hid- 
densee island and the cathedral of Bad Doberan. 

The Baltic coast, stretching over a length of 240 kilometres, with 
the islands of Rugen, Usedom and Hiddensee is the most popular 
holiday area in the GDR. 


Schwerin county 

Area: 8,672 square kilometres (3,348sq. miles) 

Population: 592,000 

Population density: 68 inhabitants per sq. km (177 per sq. 

The area of what is now Schwerin county was a socially and eco- 
nomically backward rural region until 1945. With major advances 
made in the 1 970s, the county has developed into a modern region 
with mixed industrial and agricultural structures. The industrial 
complex in the county capital of Schwerin (pop. 127,000) is one of 
the newly built production facilities in the county. Mechanical 
engineering and vehicle construction, light industry and construc- 
tion materials, and chemical industries account for 48 per cent of 
the county's industrial production. 

Sixty per cent of the total area (approximately 550,000 hectares) 
is used for agricultural purposes. The county supplies food for 
some 1.8 million people. Food processing, accounting for 41 per 
cent of total output, is the most important single industry in the re- 

Schwerin county with its 320 lakes is a favourite holiday area. 
Approximately 20 per cent of the region is covered by forests. 
Schwerin Palace, located in a historic park, the cathedral and mu- 
seum are major attractions in the town of Schwerin. The town of 
Giistrow is well known for its museum to the sculptor and writer 
Ernst Barlach, 

Suh! county 

Area: 3,856 square kilometres (1,489sq. miles) 

Population: 550,000 

Population density: 143 inhabitants per sq, km (369 per sq. 

Suhl is the smallest county in terms of territory and population. 
Traditional industries include potash mining, timber and toy mak- 
ing, ceramics, tool-making and glass-blowing. New enterprises 

main agricdtu 

raj activities. 

most important. 

county annually, ms 
GDR. The best kno' 


foreign press agency also publishes: 

Questions and answers 

This booklet attempts to answer questions put by visitors from 
abroad about life in the GDR. They cover many areas of public life 
and the way of life in our country. The answers offer a wealth of 
information on the GDR's foreign policy and its economy, the way 
in which socialist democracy works, on the younger generation 
and on education, social poficy and the cultural scene. This publica- 
tion appears in 12 languages. 

GDR-facts and figures 

This is an annual publication issued in 21 languages. The facts, fi- 
gures, diagrams and photos it contains present concise information 
about the state and its citizens, politics, economics and other is- 
sues. The focus is on what has been done and what were the high- 
lights of the previous year. 

This is primariiy intended to inform younger readers about the 
GDR. It is published as a folder containing loose, multicoloured 
sheets which are lavishly illustrated, and lends itself to a wide var- 
iety of uses. 

Prisma magazine 

Prisma is a digest of the GDR press including articles on the politi- 
cal, economic, scientific and cultural scene It appeares quarterly in 
German, English and French. 


foreign press agency also publishes: 

First-hand information 

The "First-hand information" series is published in German, Eng- 
lish, French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Portuguese, Arabic and 
Swedish. It provides information on the most important areas of 
life in the GDR. Titles published to date include the following: 

Stable economy-material security 

Science for the benefit of society 

Education in the GDR 

Cultural life in the GDR 

Law and justice in the GDR 

Sport and physical culture in the GDR 

Young people in the GDR 

Christians and churches in the GDR 

Environmental protection-tasks and results 

How much say do the trade unions have? 

Experiences, Results, Prospects 

The "Experiences, Results, Prospects" series gives information on 
the early years of the GDR and describes the experience it has gath- 
ered in building a socialist system of society. Publications in this 
series appear in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. 
Titles published to date include: 

Difficult years bear fruit 

The party of the working class and its policy of alliance 
From the democratic land reform to socialist agriculture in the GDR 
How socialist competition is run 

The development of a socialist education system in the GDR